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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:22 am 
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Industry Groups Call on FCC Not to Further Deregulate AM/FM Ownership

Two music artist groups who have filed comments on the status of competition in the audio programming delivery marketplace say it’s key that the Federal Communications Commission not further deregulate ownership of AM/FM radio in the U.S.

The groups musicFIRST and Future of Music filed comments with the Media Bureau on Sept. 24 as part of the commission’s request for comments heading up to the FCC’s upcoming Quadrennial Review.

https://www.radioworld.com/news-and-bus ... -ownership


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 1:33 pm 
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There's a real strong feeling of barn doors being locked after horses have escaped on this one. I'm starting to think that the future of music is not on the radio. It could have been, since everyone still has a radio or a radio app. Alas, they killed that goose when they allowed the Clear Channel/Cumulus paradigm of thousands of fully automated stations fed the same carefully tested crap by satellites.

That wasn't the only FCC mistake, but it was the worst one. The second worst was letting the market pick an AM stereo format. It picked FM, and that was blow the sad bugle time for AM in the USA. Now analog FM isn't looking all that great either. Norway has already gotten rid of a lot of it.

Maybe the already weak market will support a switch to digital broadcasting and maybe it won't. I keep wondering if we've killed radio.

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"Our democratic institutions... seem to have been upended by frat-boy billionaires from California," remarked Canadian politician Charlie Angus. (BBC, 11/27/18)


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:39 pm 
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Dunno. On the one hand, it looks like listening to music is moving off those radio box things and onto anything that can stream Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, etc.

Where some of us are wondering is where listening to people talk about stuff is moving. There was never as large an audience for listening to people talk about stuff (talk radio) as there was for sports radio or music.

Let's get real. We are mutants. Most people don't want to sit and listen to somebody talk about political and social issues for one hour. Let alone three. Talk radio has never dominated the airwaves. And we know the other problem. What talk radio there was was dominated by conservatives.

Now, this is my personal position on this. I think there is a liberal talk radio audience. Most of the people here are part of it. We can debate how large it is. I think it IS large enough to support an advertiser/rating supported broadcaster in most major American cities. Elsewhere ... debatable. If you play it, they will come. No, I do not think there is anything inherent about talk radio that means it must, as a format, be dominated by conservatives. The reasons for that have to do with a lot of historical accident, manipulation of market conditions, deregulation, and self-fulfilling prophecy. Liberals tend to ignore talk radio, so when liberals attempt to broadcast on it, they can't get headway, because people aren't willing to listen.

We here probably watched the experiment in creating an AM alternative. Air America Radio. It failed. (And what followed, Nova-M, failed even worse.) I have this feeling it will not be attempted again.

Dunno what the future of analog radio is. Digital broadcasting (through the same types of receiver devices) does not seem to be supplanting it.

Online streaming seems to be where everyone is going. Progressive Voices seems to be where you want to send your digital device to go if you want to listen to what's left of liberal audio voices. Thing is, the model's gotta evolve. It was fun having people call into your show on this analog device called the phone. But today your "callers" want to chat or Skype with you or MB with you. No offense to Randi Rhodes, but sister, realize this, your listeners want to interact with you. You might have to start doing it. Nicole Sandler at least came on her message board, while it existed, before she shut it down.

Maybe we should let the conservatives "have" AM radio. The only problem with allowing them to dominate it is for many people, you can't get a persistent audio stream from the Internet in a moving vehicle with a digital device, whereas you can from something called an AM/FM radio. But ... maybe in a decade or so when that technological problem is solved, that is the end of old school radio, as 90% of the listeners to it are listening to it in a vehicle. At home, they're watching something with a screen and pictures on it.

I still listen to NPR through my car radio, because it's the only way I can once again listen to people talking about ideas and issues, while my vehicle is in motion. I sure wish I still had a progressive AM station, but 940 WINZ went sports talk several years ago, while 610 WIOD is still conservative talk.

Yeah, progressive talk on the AM airwaves appears dead throughout most of the country. But maybe asking the question of how to get it back is the wrong one, about as wrong as bringing back manufacturing jobs to this country is (or at least saying you'll do that without noting the inherent problems from automation as to why it won't happen.)

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:31 pm 
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All of this is true, of course. I was only talking about music radio, though. Something the industry used to call "music discovery." You know the old way. If the radio played your tunes, you had a shot at fame. Not a great shot, but a shot. If it didn't, you played in bars until you got too old.

AM sucked for music. Eventually enough FM radios were deployed so that Da Kidz could listen on them. You know how much better FM was for music. Everyone does. Then MTV broke, and that became a primary means of music discovery, for a time, but that seems over now.

AM had a shot at catching up, slightly anyway, with AM stereo. It actually sounded pretty good. There were at least three competing systems that I can recall, and instead of standardizing on one, the FCC said "let the market decide." The result was a lot of competition, a lot of confusion, and mostly a lot of listener resentment. No matter which system you went with, it wouldn't work on all the stations, and there was no way to switch without buying another radio. This sealed the doom of music on AM.

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I wasn't even talking about AM progressive talk. Most of the users of this board suffered through that phase. I know I did. Big time. We all know what went wrong there. No money. People forget that conservotalk was a fringe format for a long time, before the usual people started funding it. We needed angels. There weren't any. Show over.

Neither did it help that Air America was misbegotten. The founder misrepresented how much backing he had. I think he was expecting angels to come through, or maybe he was just a crook. He assembled the best array of talent I've ever seen anywhere in radio, but no money. The decline and fall started within weeks of the launch.

My experience with Air America taught me something that used to be Media 101, but then wasn't any more. It's that radio is probably the best medium for creating local relationships that lead to bottom-up political action. It's inherent to the medium. McCluhan and all that. AM radio, with its static-y tinny sound and punchy modulation, fires people up. You can't NOT think globally and act locally.

Before cell phones, radio was the only live medium that could be everywhere, though that's not as much of a big thing anymore.

TV is outside the equation for politics. It anesthetizes the audience. It's designed to create a receptive state. Medium Cool is also Medium of Fools.

Internet can go either way, but in its current phase, it's good mostly for spreading socially repugnant ideas that used to lurk around the fringes.

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Along with the obvious competition from Internet, there's just something that feels old and spent about commercial radio broadcasting. I can accept that the golden age is over, and move on.

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"Our democratic institutions... seem to have been upended by frat-boy billionaires from California," remarked Canadian politician Charlie Angus. (BBC, 11/27/18)


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