Senate Commerce sets radio witness list


The Senate Commerce Committee has set a tentative witness list for Tuesday's media-ownership hearing on the Federal Communications Commission's new local radio-ownership rules and radio consolidation.

Scheduled to appear are a radio broadcaster, Lewis W. Dickey Jr., chairman, president and CEO of Cumulus Broadcasting Inc.; global-media-buying-company executive Jon Mandel, co-CEO of MediaCom; and Simon Renshaw of The Firm.

There was no word on planned testimony, but Renshaw is manager of the Dixie Chicks, who have complained of being boycotted by some Clear Channel Communications Inc. radio stations after one of the band members criticized President Bush and the war in Iraq.

Clear Channel, with more than 1,200 stations, is the nation's larget radio-group owner and a frequent target of consolidation critics.

Cumulus -- which is the second-largest radio group, with 270 stations in 55 markets -- has argued that some markets can't sustain a diverse lineup of stations and that "permitting greater levels of consolidation will often generate more diverse and better-quality programming."

And finally, some in the ad community are concerned that more concentration gives owners greater power to fix ad rates in individual markets.