Senator Promises a Bill to Curb ‘Big Radio’

09 January 2003

Senator Russ Weingold (Democrat, Wisconsin) believes he will be second time lucky when he again introduces to the Senate a bill designed to curb consolidation within the US radio industry.

Addressing the Future of Music Coalition conference in Washington DC, Feingold said consolidation within the radio industry had gained momentum since enactment of the 1996 bill that liberalized telecommunications law:

“Concentration of ownership in the radio and concert industry has made it difficult for individuals, artists and organizations to find outlets,” he opined.

Having failed to garner sufficient support for a restrictive bill last year, the senator intends to again introduce a similar measure – this time with the assured support of around a dozen senators, one of whom is thought to be the formidable incoming chairman of the Commerce Committee, Senator John McCain (Republican, Arizona).

Using artfully coded language, Weingold implied McCain's support, telling the conference he is encouraged by his grasp of radio consolidation issues. “He [McCain] gets it beyond belief … and I think you’ll be pleased with his intentions in this regard,” he said.

Weingold claims his bill, to be introduced “in coming weeks”, will prevent the Federal Communications Commission from relaxing restrictions on multiple station ownership in local markets, and bar uncompetitive practices by companies owning both promotion services and radio stations - a direct reference to Clear Channel Communications.

It will also “prohibit the current shakedown system, where the big radio corporations leverage their market power to require payments from artists in exchange for playing their songs.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff