NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Who could have predicted that the shift of radio stations all across the country to an ever-shrinking group of owners increasing homogenization would have driven viewers to seek alternatives.
Starting in the early 1990s, the FCC's deregulation of media ownership rules allowed firms such as Clear Channel to acquire entire radio markets across the country, buying locally owned stations and chains. When the Telecommunications Act of 1996 became law, Clear Channel and its competitors went on a buying spree, picking up nearly 1,200 media outlets across the full spectrum of broadcasting including television, news and even print media. Clear Channel's #2 competitor CBS Radio (Now Infinity Broadcasting) followed a similar course with the CBS radio network and a strong focus in broadcast sports events.
The shift was not lost on fans however. As playlists became more programmed and diversity diminished, the audience started to disappear too. The New York Times reported that people listen to 14 percent less radio over the last decade than in previous years and the bottom lines for the radio conglomerates are showing the loss. Stocks for the top 5 radio consortiums are down by as much as 60 percent.
Radio also faces stiffer competition as well. The defection of a number of high profile radio personalities like Howard Stern to satellite radio has helped lure people to pay-to-listen services like XM and Sirius where FCC censorship is not such an issue. The Internet has allowed would-be broadcasters to stream music in a huge array of formats with little capital investment required.
This competition has pushed the more traditional conglomerates towards differing solutions. Some such as Disney has divested itself of radio holdings while others such as Clear Channel have been selling off less profitable holdings.
Not everyone is looking for an escape. Some broadcasters in the US and Canada are trying to reinvigorate the market. Big Sticks Broadcasting has started introducing Jack FM in some markets. Jack stations play a mix of 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s hits along with current hot adult contemporary singles. Their slogan is "Jack FM -We play what we want. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers.