NASHVILLE: Nary a solitary 'Yeehah' was heard as the chairman's gavel rapped to proclaim the opening of the Federal Communications Commission's second media-consolidation hearing in Nashville, Tennessee, spiritual home of such country greats as Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson.

None of whom, sadly, was present as a convocation of country music starts stood in line to declare their opposition to further consolidation within America's radio and TV industries.

First on the FCC agenda was radio, when testimony was presented to the commissioners that radio consolidation is making it harder for artists to be heard.

Claimed Rick Carnes, president of the Songwriters Guild of America: "We used to have music everywhere that comes from somewhere. Now we have music everywhere that comes from nowhere."

Taking up the refrain, Grand Ole Opry star Porter Wagoner harmonized: "If media rules were the way they are now in 1967, the world would have never heard of Dolly Parton."

While one-man backing group, the self-styled "country-music icon" George Jones told the commissioners that radio consolidation "has prevented me from reaching my full potential".

Jones reprised the main theme: "Sugar is sweet, but too much can kill you. Please don't make it any rougher for recording artists like me or tomorrow's rising stars."

The hearing, the second in a series of six to be held by the FCC, is part of a review of nationwide media-ownership rules. It follows an appellate court decision to block the commission's recent attempt to 'liberalize' the rules in favor of consolidation-hungry media owners.

It is thought unlikely that a recording of the Nashville proceedings will collect a Grammy.

Data sourced from AdAge (USA); additional content by WARC staff