Clear Channel's Grip on College Radio Essay

Clear Channel's Grip on College Radio Essay

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Clear Channel Communications, owner of 1,200 stations across the United States, has been undermining the values of diversity, localism, and market completion within the music industry since the media policy wars in the early 2000s. Since then, the radio industry arguably has lost a significant amount of the authenticity it once had. The only exception is college radio: the last safe haven for musical integrity. The only facet of radio not owned and controlled by a major monopoly. Recently, however, Clear Channel has gone to bed with college radio stations across the country. Although the corporate monopoly has shut out authenticity and artistic integrity from the mainstream, they still want more in order to completely wipe out independent music.
The 1996 Telecommunications Act was the first major overhaul of telecom policy since the Communications Act of 1934; it covered everything from radio, television to cable TV (Garofalo, 440). The act removed the restrictions on the number of radio stations any one company could own, which accelerated the trend of a small number of companies owning the vast majority of stations. Clear Channel was a primary beneficiary. In 1995, Clear Channel owned 43 stations. By the early 2000s, it owned over 1,200 stations, which took in 20 percent of the industry revenues in 2001. In addition, Clear Channel owned over 700,000 billboards; it controlled 65 percent of the U.S. concert business; and it posted total revenues exceeding $8 billion (Garafalo, 440).
Four companies controlled 90 percent of radio and revenue in the early 2000s. Serious implications for programming occurred due to the level of ownership concentration. According to Garafolo, “In one week, the forty top modern-rock stations ad...

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...trick to profit. Clear Channel has taken major college stations to bed, and it’s not a gentle lover. Thus, local stations must not be lured by Clear Chanel’s diabolical plan. Instead, the stations must look the corporate villain into their deceiving eyes, and inform them that their conglomerating ways will not be tolerated; we must preserve the last refuge of music programming and expression on the radio airwaves.

Works Cited (MLA)
Garofalo, Reebee. Rockin Out: Popular Music in America. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2010. 439-40. Print.
Kirkpatrick, Bill. "On Radio: Strange Bedfellows." Antenna. 25 Mar. 2012. Web. 16 Apr. 2012.
Waits, Jennifer C. "Does ‘indie’ Mean Independence? Freedom and Restraint in a Late 1990s US College Radio Community." The Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast and Audio Media 5.2&3 (2008): 83-96. Print.

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