US Consumers Oppose Radio Industry Consolidation

21 June 2002


Although some researchers might question the size of the five hundred-strong sample, new research indicates that around 50% of US music enthusiasts oppose further consolidation of the nation’s radio industry – expressing a clear preference for a greater number of low power non-commercial radio stations offering community-centered programming. Such stations usually have a transmission range of only a few miles.

The survey, conducted by Washington-based artists rights group The Future of Music Coalition in partnership with the Media Access Project and the Rockefeller Foundation, conducted a telephone poll of five hundred people.

An unstated majority said they oppose federal laws that could lead to yet more mergers of radio stations; they also believe that local disk jockeys should have a greater say over programming.

The coalition’s executive director Jenny Toomey claims the results show that people are “clearly unsatisfied with programming trends that have come into effect as a result of radio consolidation in the recent years”.

Radio conglomerates unsurprisingly disagree, citing their own research which shows they are giving consumers exactly what they want. Says Clear Channel Radio’s Pam Taylor of the coalition study: “It's interesting; it’s not surprising. People have been saying the same thing since we've been doing research.”

The coalition initiative precedes the introduction of a new Senate bill sponsored by Senator Russell Feingold (Democrat, Wisconsin) which seeks to restrict further consolidation in the radio industry.

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff