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Q Television is a mess and your points are well taken. But also look at Radio. Radio has been turned into a printing press to make money. The radio station in a community was so important to knowing what was going on in the community with news, sports, community interest, and issues. Not anymore. It is sad, but community radio is dead because of deregulation. Plug into a service and sell it. Play all the pundits but never give any local information. Sad. Very sad.
All I know is that when broadcasting was deregulated, the MBAs moved into radio and purchased radio stations like wildfire. It really is a money machine for a lot of them…low programming costs…good sales revenue.
No more news because it is not required. Supposedly, they lost money on news. No community affairs programming. Not required. No Fairness Doctrine (pain in the arse but a good policy), etc. Killed off local programming and all broadcasters did was to plug into the satellite and give us Rush and O’Rielly.
Out here in Kansas, the local radio station (AM or FM) use to be the central point of the community. Not anymore. Just find one your best writers and researchers….they will find out the truth. Look at not only large markets where the rip off is huge…also look at other markets – medium to small.
A We think that you’re largely right. Radio as a community centered service effectively ended by the last wave of broadcast deregulation in 1996. The arguments favoring broadcast deregulation and the elimination of ownership limitations were economic. The radio business was less profitable than it might be largely because it was labor intensive and burdened with managerial, administrative and sales staff payroll. Community service did not produce the highest possible profitability. If MBA managerial practices and standards were applied, the large broadcast owners understood, radio broadcasting — just as television — was an industry ripe for the picking.
These ideas failed to consider any of the reasons broadcasting had originally been so carefully regulated. The FCC was charged with more than just station licensing — for the operation of radio stations were deemed to be in the public interest. Regulated radio thus served the local community first and broadcaster profitability second. Back then, a broadcaster could own seven AM, seven FM and seven TV stations under the FCC’s so called 7-7-7 rule. No matter how many stations a broadcaster owned, only one AM, one FM and one TV station could be owned in any given metropolitan area.
This changed in the 1985 deregulation of ownership limits when the 7-7-7 was replaced by the 12-12-12 rule. By automating their stations, making massive lay-offs, and installing demographic-determined formats, the large corporate station owners such as Infinity and Clear Channel hit the jackpot. What was needed, they told Congress, was complete deregulation.
Then about twelve years ago, the Congress, and the Clinton administration, agreed. Ownership limits were effectively abolished by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 when today’s 8-infinity ownership scheme was adopted. Today, a broadcaster can own up to eight stations in any one market without any limit on how many stations it owns nationwide.
Also killed by broadcasting deregulation were requirements for non-entertainment programming (1985), the Fairness Doctrine (1987) that required equal time for political content and news, and at the behest of the big station groups, limits on percentage of advertising content (1985).
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