So, Radio…

There must be some money to be made around here by starting a radio station that offers something other than pop, country, religion, hard rock, conservative propaganda, and adult contemporary music. It’s stunning how little the radio dial has changed in my lifetime. There’s more than one radio station playing the same music that the DJs spun at the teen dances of my youth. It’s not a healthy sign for our culture that flipping through stations I can suddenly be brought back to the night of my first kiss with JV, standing outside the Broadview Y thirty years ago. I know for a fact that there’s an audience that’s fallen between the cracks of radio formats and market research. Have they given up on radio so utterly that they’re out of reach? So how big an audience does a small, commercial radio station need to have to be economically sustainable? Just asking for a friend.

2 thoughts on “So, Radio…

  1. Radio is difficult. The Telecommunications Act (1996) gutted terrestrial radio programming, and it turned the AM/FM industry into a fetid, corrupt monopoly.

    The following, written by Jeff Pearlstein, captures some of it:

    “Before passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, a company could not own more than 40 radio stations in the entire country. With the Act’s sweeping relaxation of ownership limits, Clear Channel now owns approximately 1225 radio stations in 300 cities and dominates the audience share in 100 of 112 major markets. Its closest competitors — CBS and ABC, media giants in their own right — own only one-fifth as many stations.”


    1. Too true. But there are still locally owned, commercial radio stations. What I can’t understand is why there aren’t many that confound what’s expected to better compete within the Clear Channel mono-culture. I’ve been in business since 1999 and differentiating yourself is a completely valid strategy. But even larger metropoli don’t seem to have commercial stations that stand out. This defies business logic to me.


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