Future Of Music Coalition Study: Not Enough Diversity, Localism
December 13, 2006 at 10:27 AM (PT)
The FUTURE OF MUSIC COALITION's report on media ownership consolidation was released TODAY (12/13) as promised, and as expected, the report says that consolidation has decreased programming diversity and concentrated control of audiences. Among the report's conclusions are that the top four station ownership groups have nearly half of all listeners and the top 10 have almost 2/3 of all listeners, local ownership has declined by almost one-third between 1975 and 2005, fifteen formats make up 3/4 of programming (with some formats overlapping by as much as 80% of playlists), and listenership has declined 22% since 1989 in a 155 market sample.
The FMC's conclusions and recommendations include "safeguarding competition" through maintaining or lowering present ownership caps, retaining attribution rules, and encouraging minority and independent owners; restoring localism through a "local ownership index" formula, changing the full-power licensing process to grant stations to local rather than national organizations, reallocating digital radio spectrum and increasing LPFM; fostering diversity through changing how formats are defined, requiring stations to disclose playlists and music test results, and applying localism standards for digital stations; and improving access to data to the public, including programming and playlist information.
The report is available by clicking here.
NAB Issues Study Responding To FMC
In response, the NAB released information from a BIAfn study that says the number of general programming formats provided by local radio stations increased by 7.5% since 2001, with a 22.2% increase in the average number of specific programming formats provided. The study also says that since 1996, the number of general and specific programming formats has increased by 16 and 36.4%, respectively. And in response to the FMC study's claim that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 did not help the cause of diversity, the NAB says that the number of Spanish-language format stations has increased 45.4% in the last six years, with Asian-language radio stations also increasing in number and three or more Urban stations available to 72.1% ofAfrican Americans in Arbitron-rated markets, up from 61.9% six years earlier.
NAB EVP of Media Relations DENNIS WHARTON released a statement that said "FMC's long history of producing questionable research and dubious data to fulfill its agenda-driven mission is apparent for all to see. As the BIA FINANCIAL NETWORK study indicates, free local radio has more format diversity than at any time in its rich history. Moreover, with the advent of HD Radio, local radio will be providing more news, more music formats, and more public service for the 260 million people who tune in every week."