National Public Radio’s Morning Edition is airing a series about the deregulation of broadcast media.
Librarians often talk about what happens when the same companies own a lot of presses, publications, and, thus, information. The buzz about what happens when the airwaves are owned by a few major companies is beginning to increase, especially now that the Federal Communications Commission will vote soon about deregulation. Many people complain that certain radio stations play the same five bands over and over during the day, but they never really think about why that radio station might be repeating the same music and why a radio station in Madison, Wisconsin, might have the same format as a station in Boston, Massachusetts, even though the communities they serve are vastly different, or what it means when one corporation decides what airs on many radio and television stations across the nation.
The history of regulation is the first part of the series. The second part covers how deregulation effects local broadcasting and communities. FCC Chairman Michael Powell talks about the vote, including more information about how the situation effects television broadcasts, in the third and final part of the series.
On June 2, WBUR, Boston University’s public radio station, aired an interview with a BU journalism professor talking about how deregulation could effect what’s being broadcast in Boston. National Public Radio also carried another story about the FCC’s deregulation vote. The broadcast describes an ad implying that Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the Fox Network and other media outlets, could own everything if the FCC votes to deregulate the industry.
96 Wave in Charleston, South Carolina, is still probably my favorite radio station and it isn’t owned by one of the giants. One of my blog readers, Paul, pointed out that it’s no longer independently owned. One of its strengths for many years was that it was independently and locally owned. (If only their online broadcasting abilities wouldn’t breakdown so often!)