Eleven years after the FCC opened the U.S. commercial radio business to corporate consolidation, the radio station trading business still dominates the attention of everybody in the business. First, it was about who could buy the most stations, and in short order, all the prime stations in the biggest markets were in a few hands. Today, whether you read the financial or the trade press, it’s about how fast the largest owners of stations can buy out Wall Street and take their companies private again. Of course, the stock marketeers see this as win-win — they won when the stocks of the radio consolidators went up, now they win when the radio consolidators sell out to private equity companies, which makes the stock price go…you guessed it…up.

The non-winners in all this: first, the listeners — consolidation did nothing for the quality of radio, and arguably lowered it. The other losers are the radio pros and owners who really care about the audience and the medium. They’re now ten more years behind the exploding rate of innovation in media. And now they have to go through another round of ownership changes. It’s enough to make you want to go into real estate.

Comments are moderated.

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Return to Top

Radio — still in the real estate business.


Heinrich Hertz's experiments proved the existence of electromagnetic radiation. Cycles-per-second, the standard measure of radio wave frequency, was named for him. He died in 1894, at 37. Wikipedia: Hertz


What do you do with a problem like Howard? After decades of profits and FCC indecency fines as routine budget items, Howard Stern, king of all pottymouth radio guys, followed his enabler Mel Karmazin to Sirius Satellite Radio, leaving CBS to make up a hundred million in revenue (They sold stations) and fill the void for the half of Howard's loyal audience who didn't choose to buy a new radio and pay fifteen bucks a month for a few more, ranker epithets.
Wikipedia: Stern


CBS might have become the Cigar Broadcasting System. William S. Paley was the scion of the family business. In 1927, his cigar tycoon dad, Samuel, bought the struggling network of early radio stations from a group of poor schlumps who were trying to – would you believe: sell programming to radio stations! Every syndicator since has had to relearn that this doesn't work. Bill and his dad figured out the right business model -- you sell commercials to advertisers, and give the programs to stations. Got it?
Wikipedia: Paley