Public opinion is running against radio consolidation, according to a survey
by the Future of Music Coalition, Media Access Project and the Rockefeller
The survey finds that eight of 10 people "favor congressional action to
protect or expand the number of independently owned local stations."
Nearly 80 percent of radio listeners say they would prefer their local
deejays to have more control over which songs are played on radio stations.
By a six-to-one ratio, radio listeners also said they would like a greater
variety of songs to be in radio stations' play rotations.
The survey also found that 75 percent would like to see more low-power FM
stations in their communities.
The country's largest radio company, Clear Channel Communications Inc., said
the survey's findings were faulty.
"The music business is in trouble, as even its most ardent supporters
concede. But the problems of the recording industry are not related to the radio
business, which is stronger than ever. To mix the two and, especially, to blame
the problems of one on changes in the business of radio, is simplistic and
misleading," said Pam Taylor, spokeswoman for Clear Channel.
Still, at least one senator is listening carefully to the complaints of
citizen groups regarding consolidation. Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) has
promised to introduce legislation that would "help consumers by putting local
radio stations and local promoters on a fair playing field in the marketplace,"
he said in a statement. "This survey confirms what I have been hearing in
Wisconsin, that people are concerned about concentrated ownership of our radio,
concert, and promotion industries."
The survey was conducted for the organizations by the public opinion research
firm Behavior Research Center. The center interviewed 500 people via telephone
between May 13-20, 2002.
The Future of Music Coalition is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that
opposes further consolidation in the radio industry and strongly supports
Media Access Project is a non-profit media law firm, also based in
The Rockefeller Foundation is a philanthropic grant-making organization
founded by John D. Rockefeller in 1913.