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Thread: NAB says it will make radio more "Local"

  1. #11

    Re: NAB says it will make radio more "Local"

    Quote Originally Posted by SirRoxalot

    If the AMs are so valueless, then sell them to other people who want them, and buy an FM.
    No one is saying the AMs are "valueless." All they're saying is it's unfair to limit the number of FMs they can own because they own AMs.

    And the track record has been that new owners of heritage AMs trash them and don't have the resources to run them the way they had been run by the previous owners. In the case of the CBS all-news stations like WCBS, KNX, and KYW, it's very unlikely that any other owner would keep them 24/7 local news with the level of staffing they currently have. So local service would be hurt by CBS selling those AMs. The FCC should encourage quality station owners, rather than forcing them to operate under one-size-fits-all ownership caps.

  2. #12

    Re: NAB says it will make radio more "Local"

    Quote Originally Posted by SirRoxalot
    Competition drives better quality, not further consolidation which is akin to monopoly.
    Practically speaking, competition doesn't drive quality. It drives down prices, and consequently cost-cutting, which drives down quality. Consumers buy products based on price, not quality. In terms of radio, competition drives down risk-taking in formats, and leads to more conservative music policies. It has driven down spot prices, which leaves companies with less money to hire staff. And it puts radio at a competitive disadvatage in the larger media marketplace, because broadcast radio has to compete with a government approved monopoly of satellite radio.

    The government is currently preventing quality local companies from buying broadcasting properties through its arcane newspaper-broadcasting cross-ownership rule. If local newspapers could own broadcasting, it would improve the quality of local information for the public. The government needs to grow the pool of potential owners, not limit it. Removing this ban would begin that process.

  3. #13

    Re: NAB says it will make radio more "Local"

    So, further opportunity for one company to monopolize media in a market is good in your opinion? And will lead to more jobs, greater prosperity for all, and more local content for listeners? Puh-lease. Sure hasn't worked out that way so far.

    The big boys want FMs because they're facing the mortality of AM listeners. They think that the current content isn't reaching younger listeners because of the band it's on. Reality is that the audience for most talk radio is aging into demographics that advertisers don't want. Moving that content to FM ain't gonna fix that. And giving them more stations isn't going to increase the local content on the air.

    I agree with you on newspaper-radio cross-ownership, but you're trying to link two subjects that have virtually nothing in common. In fact, giving current owners the opportunity to buy more FMs without giving up AMs would increase the prices for anyone else who wants to get into the game, and limit the number of stations that would be for sale - especially to competition in the news/talk arena.
    Did I forget that <<sarcasm>> tag again?

  4. #14

    Re: NAB says it will make radio more "Local"

    Quote Originally Posted by SirRoxalot
    So, further opportunity for one company to monopolize media in a market is good in your opinion?
    The only media that has ownership rules is broadcasting. So if you want to promote fair competition, all forms of media should compete with the same amount of regulation. Right now, radio operates at a disadvantage. That's wrong and needs to be changed.

    My personal view is there are good owners and bad owners. But the FCC doesn't regulate that way. They view all owners as equal. So good owners are forced to operate with the same rules as bad owners, and the public suffers. But the good owners hire lots of local people and air lots of local content, and you can see that in Buffalo. The bad owners don't. But why should broadcasting operate under one-size-fits-all regulation when it's obvious that companies aren't the same?

    Quote Originally Posted by SirRoxalot

    I agree with you on newspaper-radio cross-ownership, but you're trying to link two subjects that have virtually nothing in common.
    Huh? The things they have in common is ownership regulation. That's what we're talking about here, aren't we? Bad regulations should be eliminated, and both the AM/FM caps and the newspaper crossownership ban are bad regulations. There will be no more new companies getting into the radio game until the government eliminates this ban. The current crop of owners is the pool we will have, and the big fish will continue to eat the small fish, regardless of price. Something needs to be done to change that, and allowing newspapers to buy radio is one way to do it.

  5. #15

    Re: NAB says it will make radio more "Local"

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA
    The only media that has ownership rules is broadcasting. So if you want to promote fair competition, all forms of media should compete with the same amount of regulation. Right now, radio operates at a disadvantage. That's wrong and needs to be changed.
    That's simply not so. Telecommunications in general is heavily regulated. Any service that uses the electromagnetic spectrum is regulated because it's a limited resource. About the only type of communications that isn't regulated is print media. Virtually anybody can own a printing press - or, more commonly, a copier.


    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA
    The current crop of owners is the pool we will have, and the big fish will continue to eat the small fish, regardless of price. Something needs to be done to change that, and allowing newspapers to buy radio is one way to do it.
    I agree with you. But allowing the current crop of owners to own more radio stations doesn't leave much for anybody - newspapers or whoever - to purchase. Clear Channel doesn't want competition. Clear Channel wants control. Allowing anybody else with the resources to program local content to gain control of a signal is not part of their game plan. You're at odds with yourself.
    Did I forget that <<sarcasm>> tag again?

  6. #16

    Re: NAB says it will make radio more "Local"

    Quote Originally Posted by SirRoxalot
    Any service that uses the electromagnetic spectrum is regulated because it's a limited resource. About the only type of communications that isn't regulated is print media. Virtually anybody can own a printing press - or, more commonly, a copier.
    Radio stations compete with platforms outside the "electromagnetic spectrum." Things like satellite and the internet. They're largely unregulated, and satellite is a monopoly. The media is more than the traditional industry it once was.

    Quote Originally Posted by SirRoxalot
    But allowing the current crop of owners to own more radio stations doesn't leave much for anybody - newspapers or whoever - to purchase.
    The FCC needs to do something. It would be nice if owning AMs wasn't counted against a cap. If the FCC won't approve that, then let them approve newspaper cross ownership. I'd love to have both. Right now, it's unlikely they'll do either. Clear Channel hasn't bought a radio station in 8 years, and are unlikely to buy more, even if the caps are raised. They've had the opportunity to buy stations in markets where they are under cap, and they haven't done so. So I have no reason to worry about CC at this point.

  7. #17

    Re: NAB says it will make radio more "Local"

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA
    Quote Originally Posted by SirRoxalot
    Any service that uses the electromagnetic spectrum is regulated because it's a limited resource. About the only type of communications that isn't regulated is print media. Virtually anybody can own a printing press - or, more commonly, a copier.
    Radio stations compete with platforms outside the "electromagnetic spectrum."&#160; Things like satellite and the internet.&#160; They're largely unregulated, and satellite is a monopoly.&#160; The media is more than the traditional industry it once was.

    Quote Originally Posted by SirRoxalot
    But allowing the current crop of owners to own more radio stations doesn't leave much for anybody - newspapers or whoever - to purchase.
    The FCC needs to do something.&#160; It would be nice if owning AMs wasn't counted against a cap.&#160; If the FCC won't approve that, then let them approve newspaper cross ownership.&#160; I'd love to have both.&#160; Right now, it's unlikely they'll do either.&#160; Clear Channel hasn't bought a radio station in 8 years, and are unlikely to buy more, even if the caps are raised.&#160; They've had the opportunity to buy stations in markets where they are under cap, and they haven't done so.&#160; So I have no reason to worry about CC at this point.
    The fact that radio competes with internet and satellite is not a good enough excuse to change the regulations. Radio uses public airwaves that make it the most accessible form of radio in existence. If this advantage alone is not enough for radio, then changing the ownership cap rules will not make much of a difference. Satellite radio has a huge disadvantage, the subscription. The internet on the other hand, has many issues regarding availability. Broadcast radio doesn't have either of these issues. The issues that broadcast radio does have that are perhaps the only reasons satellite and internet radio took off in the first place, is the advertising and unsatisfactory content. If it were not for the consistent advertisements and content that fails to meets a listener's expectations, then there would not be a place for satellite or internet radio today. As is they exist and owning more FM stations will not make the driving factors behind satellite and internet radio go away. A listener can only listen to one station at a time. Owning more FM stations may gain you more overall listeners in a market, but it won't make you more competitive against satellite or the internet.

    The rules forbidding newspapers on the other hand, while seemingly unfair, would probably not help local content should they be eliminated. Most local newspapers do not have the money to buy stations. The newspapers who might would be the ones owned by large conglomerates. I would argue that many of the newspapers owned by conglomerates and even locally-owned newspapers have been delivering increasingly poor content. They have been cutting employees and delivering less local content, just as radio stations are doing today. I fail to see how a newspaper company can meet the needs of a local community any better than current station owners.

    As far as regulations go, broadcast radio uses public airwaves, which is a limited resource. Internet radio uses private infrastructure and is an unlimited resource. There is not a single valid reason to regulate internet radio and there never will be. Internet radio is only like broadcast radio in that it delivers content to a listener. Beyond that it is entirely different in how it functions and how it delivers the content. That may seem unfair to radio broadcasters, but that is the way it works.


    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA

    Practically speaking, competition doesn't drive quality.&#160; It drives down prices, and consequently cost-cutting, which drives down quality.&#160; Consumers buy products based on price, not quality.&#160; In terms of radio, competition drives down risk-taking in formats, and leads to more conservative music policies.&#160; It has driven down spot prices, which leaves companies with less money to hire staff.&#160; And it puts radio at a competitive disadvatage in the larger media marketplace, because broadcast radio has to compete with a government approved monopoly of satellite radio.
    The only thing stopping radio broadcasters from taking the risk of trying new formats and more creative music policies is the fear of failure. The fear of failure creates a lack of creativity and therefore a lack of innovation. The lack of innovation eventually leads to failure. Tim Westergren is a visionary, who threw aside the risk of failure to create an innovative product. Broadcast radio needs more people like Tim if it hopes to have a future. It needs to stopping blaming the FCC for the problems it has and instead, figure out how to fix them or how to adapt.

  8. #18

    Re: NAB says it will make radio more "Local"

    Quote Originally Posted by Casey
    If this advantage alone is not enough for radio, then changing the ownership cap rules will not make much of a difference.
    The subject of this thread is that the NAB wants to adjust the AM/FM subcaps, and their reason isn't to benefit the owners, but rather the public. As I said earlier in this thread, the main company affected by the subcaps is CBS, which owns several heritage AMs, and programs them with 24/7 local news. They could sell those AMs, but everyone knows that any new owner who buys them won't keep them 24/7 local news. Why? Because it's way too expensive a format to do on AM. So you can hold to your opinion, and force CBS to sell its AMs. But when the new owners flip them to satellite talk, I will say "I told you so." That's not a threat. Just look at the rest of the AM dial. What makes you think heritage AMs are immune?

    As for Tim Westergrin, he may be a brilliant visionary who took a risk, but his product is losing money, and everyone knows it. He will soon cash out with billions in his pocket, and his once-brilliant invention will either go bankrupt, or will be bought by Clear Channel.

    Meanwhile the FCC has over 40 years of terrible regulatory history under its belt. They alone ruined the American system of broadcasting by over-licensing the spectrum, and walking away from the mess they made. They deserve all the blame they can get.

  9. #19

    Re: NAB says it will make radio more "Local"

    If CBS is allowed to buy more FMs, they'll simply put their current news/talk product on an FM signal. If they don't have to sell their heritage AMs, they'll simply simulcast. There's actually a net loss of programming diversity in the market.

    If CBS sells the AMs to buy FMs, they might end up as satellite repeaters. They might end up in the hands of community groups. They might become a playground for programming that's too risky or has too small an audience to support a full-power FM. Either way, that beats simply being part of a simulcast.

    If we're going to push for changes in regulations regarding AMs, how about this? Kill AM IBOC, restore 10KHz bandwidth, and restore Motorola C-QUAM stereo as a preferred technology. AM could sound so much better than it does now. Maybe manufacturers would do a better job with receivers if they were assured that there was a stable standard. At worst, millions of existing radios would sound significantly better than either current AM, most satellite feeds, and most Internet streams.
    Did I forget that <<sarcasm>> tag again?

  10. #20

    Re: NAB says it will make radio more "Local"

    Quote Originally Posted by SirRoxalot
    Either way, that beats simply being part of a simulcast.
    I'd like to see examples of where the sale of an AM became a "playground for programming." Hundreds of AMs have been sold in the last few years. Name a few that have actually become beacons of quality for local radio. The last 20 years of history has demonstrated that any change for AM radio has been negative. Why are you so attached to regulation that has led to the demise of the band? It's obvious that AM needs a change in regulation in order to survive.

    Quote Originally Posted by SirRoxalot
    Kill AM IBOC, restore 10KHz bandwidth, and restore Motorola C-QUAM stereo as a preferred technology. AM could sound so much better than it does now.
    This assumption is based on the idea that listeners are motivated by technical quality, not content. It also assumes that electronics manufacturers would also start spending more money on providing quality receivers that would allow the technical improvements to be heard. Your proposal wouldn't solve the other audio quality problems, such as electronic interference.

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