Dickey vs. Dixie Chicks

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Cumulus Media Inc. chairman Lewis W. Dickey Tuesday defended his company’s decision
to impose a 30-day ban on Dixie Chicks records as the will of the people and his
individual program directors.

He also pointed out that the ban applied to country stations only, while the
band continued to play on its top-40 outlets.

At the same time, though, he said that if he had the decision to make again,
he would not have instituted the ban, but would have left it as a local operator
decision.

That acknowledgement came following some tough questioning from senators at a
Commerce Committee hearing on Federal Communications Commission radio rules and
radio consolidation in general.

The Dixie Chicks controversy dominated the hearing, with various senators
expressing their fears that a corporate ban on the Dixie Chicks could translate
into bans on political speech that a corporate parent felt was unpopular or
could harm its business.

Dickey responded that the two were not analogous.

Rep. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) made a special visit from the House side to renew
his pitch against the merger of Univision Communications Inc. and Hispanic Broadcasting Corp., saying
the FCC should treat the Hispanic market as separate from the English-speaking market.

If it did, he added, the merger would represent "unacceptable market power in
Spanish-language media."

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