The National Association of Broadcasters has fired back at a study released Wednesday by the Future of Music Coalition backing its claims that consolidation has hurt the radio industry.
That study concluded that the 1996 Telecommunications Act's radio deregulation led to a loss of localism, competition, viewpoints and format diversity. The former limit of 24 radio stations per owner was lifted, replaced by Clear Channel's jaw-dropping 1,000-plus as the top radio owner.
But NAB, citing a study of its own by BIA Financial Network in October, said that the number of formats is up 7.5% since 2001 and that the average number of formats per market has gone up and that the number of Spanish-language stations has increased by 45.5% in the past six years.
"FMC's long history of producing questionable research and dubious data to fulfill its agenda-driven mission is apparent for all to see," said NAB Executive VP of Media Relations Dennis Wharton.
Clear Channel’s EVP/Chief Legal Officer Andy Levin also took issue with what Clear Channel called a biased report that misreported the state of the industry.
“To insinuate that a decrease in radio listenership is the result of industry consolidation shows just how out of touch the Future of Music Coalition is with the music marketplace," said Levin in a statement late Wednesday. "Today free radio competes with more music options vying for listeners' ears than ever before. These unregulated competitors are anything but local. And while competition has caused some reduction in listenership, it also makes free radio companies work even harder every day to provide a superiorlocalservice to our customers.”
The FMC study came the same week broadcasters got an earful on the effects of consolidation from musicians and others at a public hearing in Nashville on media ownership.