Clear Channel Domination in Question

miss_tori writes: According to several music trades online, including R&R, the FCC is holding a hearing on the potential for diminished competition in Charlottesville’s radio market. The blurb states, “The commission says that Clear Channel’s long-pending acquisition of Air Virginia’s WUMX/Charlottesville, VA would reduce the number of ‘effective’ competitors in the market from three to two, and it plans to hold a hearing to resolve the matter. The hearing would be the first since 1969 to deal with market-concentration issues in a radio station sale. FCC Chairman Michael Powell notes that the top two owners in Charlottesville would have a combined 94.2% market share. ‘This level of concentration, in the absence of any countervailing considerations or public interest benefits, is simply too significant for us to conclude that the transaction is consistent with the public interest.'” Does Charlottesville’s listening audience care who owns which stations? Do they even know?

25 thoughts on “Clear Channel Domination in Question”

  1. Charlottesville does not have a decent radio station for older people to listen to music. 1400 is ridiculous with sports 24 hours a day. They used to be the better stations in the city. How tiresome it is to listen to the station people chat among themselves and give forth their inane comments.


  2. Yes, Charlottesville’s listening audience does care and wants diverse programming and independent ownership of local broadcasters operating over the public airwaves.

    So, can “miss tori” (or anyone else) provide us with details as to exactly how we can participate in the FCC’s hearing on Clear Channel’s planned acquisition and/or make our objections known to the FCC?

    I’m glad this was brought to our attention, because a lot of it is a matter of “inside baseball” that we wouldn’t know about if we’re not involved in the broadcast industy. Now, we need an action plan.

  3. I damn sure care, and this is the best news I’ve heard all day! Clear Channel is a very bully-type of corporation, known far and wide for strong-arming music promoters, record companies, and anybody else they can to strengthen their already dominant market position.

    And, yeah, their programming just absolutely bites. It doesn’t seem like they have a clue about this market. It troubles me that Vinnie Kice, who is truly a gentleman, is stuck there – I believe he’s their token local jock.

    Interesting stories describing Clear Channel’s accomplishments can be found all over the web. Just do a search for CLEAR CHANNEL FCC COMPLAINT.

  4. with the exception of local news the point is moot. The advent of satellite radio and broadband offering precludes local ownership, as their percent of the pie increases.

    In many wany this is nothing more then a bunch of small dogs fighting for table scraps.


  5. WTJU is one of the best radio stations in Virginia…better even than anything in D.C. We in Charlottesville should realize how lucky we are and dig 91.1 FM.

    Fight the market-driven homogenization of our art and culture for Clear Channel’s profit by LISTENING TO PUBLIC RADIO!!!!


  6. I certainly couldn’t care who owns which stations in the least. For those of us who can’t stand NPR or WTJU (read: those of us who prefer to not listen to Jazz, Classical, or random monotone voices telling us about things we have no interest in..), there isn’t really a decent option as far as contant listening pleasure is concerned. The main offenders, 3WV, NRN, Z95, etc (oh, i know there’s more, but it’s on the same level), offer too much in the way of variety. By this, I mean that there’s the bombardment of PopCrap mixed in with the occaisional pleasant tune. Pour Example, I drive to work and try to listen to *anything*, but it’s either all talk or Acoustic Sunrise, which puts us right back at NPR. Then you get into the midday section, which is usually pretty good across the board, but by afternoon you’re back to having to hear NRN’s screaming rapmetal, 3WV’s need for top 20 crap (Creed and Puddle of Dirt, etc…, which is not, by any standards “The best new rock”), and finally, Z95’s snore-a-thon of Michael Bolton. It’s about time I get my cd player fixed.

  7. WTJU is more than jazz and classical. It has the best rock programming in town. Get a programming schedule. There’s great intelligent hip-hop on Monday afternoons, bluegrass, rock, etc. Real music, not lowest-common-denomenator ad-pushing pop. WTJU especially rocks in the afternoon. Check it out.

  8. For real! TJU is one of the best-programmed stations I’ve ever encountered. The DJs are very knowledgable about the music their shows focus on, and you never know what you might hear next. And there are no ads. Friday night on TJU is my favorite time to listen to radio. Their blues programming is phenomenal.

  9. The big problem with WTJU is that you need a map and compass to figure out their schedule. Their problem is that there’s too much variety in their programming; I don’t listen because I have no idea when anything is playing and the schedule seems less than regular.

  10. Actually, their schedule is quite consistent. While their format is eclectic and generally non-repetitive, each week’s shows are almost always there when you need them.

    In a way, it’s like TV. NBC doesn’t play the same show all day long, but if you watch the same show often enough you know when it airs. Same thing with WTJU. Peter Welch and Professor Bebop can always be found beginning at 9 on Friday nights, thank goodness.

  11. > Charlottesville does not have a decent radio

    > station for older people to listen to music.

    why, aren’t old people allowed to listen to the

    same music as everyone else?

  12. i’d have to say WTJU is definitely better than most people give it credit for. whenever i’m driving around cville scanning through radio stations, i always stumble across something interesting on 91.1 … good indie-rock, glitchy electronic music, smart hip-hop, psychadelic noise, whatever. always unexpected and appreciated.

  13. The second article reminds me of something that happened about a year ago. SFX, now called Clear Channel Entertainment, handled DMB’s tour that started here in our fair ville.

    Surprisingly (!), 3WV had to purchase tickets to give them away to their listeners, while WUMX, The Mix 107.5, amazingly and incredibly had front row seats to give away to theirs, and promoted the daylights out of that fact.

    As a sidebar, DMB barely scratched the Mix playlist at the time, while 3WV has been on the Dave Bandwagon since the beginning.

    Maybe it’s just the cynic in me, but the fact that Clear Channel has been trying to purchase WUMX for a couple of years, and the fact that Clear Channel owned then-SFX, wouldn’t have anything to do with that, would it?

  14. There used to be an Oldies station that was actually quite good – Oldies 102.3. Bought by Clear Channel. Now it’s The Fox 102.3, playing all your favorite classic rock, with the most horrendous morning team I think I’ve ever heard.

  15. I’m all for the independents, but to play Devil’s Advocate for a moment

    What’s wrong with a company that can promote records (trade publications); play the records (radio statons); advertise them (billboards); and host the shows (venues)? True Multi-Media!?

  16. What’s wrong with a company that can promote records (trade publications); play the records (radio statons); advertise them (billboards); and host the shows (venues)? True Multi-Media!?

    Parlez-vous “monopoly?”

  17. Don’t you mean to say:

    <i>Fight the cofiscated-tax-dollar-driven homogenization of our art and culture by LISTENING TO GOVERNMENT RADIO!!!! </i>

    By the way, I enjoy NPR and listen to it daily. I just don’t see any reason why a non-profit, non-government radio station couldn’t provide the same type of content without being a nasty corporation like Clear Channel and without confiscating the tax dollars of non-NPR-supporters. But I guess that just makes me old-fashioned: I believe if I don’t like Clear Channel, I shouldn’t listen to their stations. I prefer that method to forcing government-homogenized radio down everybody else’s ears just because I happen to enjoy NPR.

  18. I’m sure some of you are wondering why if it’s so easy for a non-profit to provide the same type of programming as NPR, then why isn’t it being done?

    The answer’s simple. How can a non-profit, non-government entity be expected to compete with the might and money of the government? It can’t be done!

    Free up the NPR-market and you will see small non-profit stations operate on a similar format, and probably even band together in non-government affiliated groups to bring the same sort of quality national coverage, and without your tax dollars paying for it!

    Think about it: if the local NPR station can raise upwards of $300,000 in a relatively short period of time (1-2 weeks?) a couple times a year, isn’t that an indication that there is enough public support to fully fund these initiatives year round without forcing people who don’t listen to NPR to pay for it? I know I would contribute, because I get a lot out of NPR.

  19. One thing is really interesting. I’ve always wondered what kind of monopoly (aka market concentration) would it take for even a Republican (aka free market) FCC to complain or stall or hold hearings on a sale. I’m not being anti-Republican per se but really wondering how much would it take for them to say, “Hey wait a minute.”

    I’m interesting in finding out where the hearings will be and that sort of thing. People may gripe about NPR and/or WTJU but at least it not a homogenized, cookie-cutter programming. (And yes, I am troubled by NPR stations all ditching their alternative programming to run “All Things Considered” etc. My parents stopped donating to WAMU for dropping the bluegrass shows. Not every system is perfect. Sigh. I still stick to my main point that public stations for the most part present something that is different for others in their communities.)


  20. What’s wrong with a company that can promote records (trade publications); play the records (radio statons); advertise them (billboards); and host the shows (venues)? True Multi-Media!?

    You just defined the evolved form of “pay-ola”.

    Besides being corrupt, it tends to breed really bad music.

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