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8 Radio Companies Ask FCC To Eliminate Ownership Caps

“The executives collectively urge the FCC to remove the antiquated regulatory barriers hindering radio’s ability to compete in the modern market.”

Ryan Hedrick

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A photo of the FCC logo

Recently, eight radio companies, namely Connoisseur Media, LLC, Townsquare Media, Inc., Mid-West Family Broadcasting, Midwest Communications, Inc., Frandsen Family Stations, Forever Media, Inc., Neuhoff Communications, Eagle Communications, Inc., Patrick Communications, LLC, and Legend Communications, LLC, submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding ownership caps. 

These caps limit the number of radio stations that an entity can own in a particular radio market. The comments were submitted by the top executives of these radio companies, including founders, CEOs, senior vice presidents, general counsels, presidents, chief operating officers, and managing partners.

As per a report by Radio Ink, the broadcasters are requesting the FCC to eliminate the local radio ownership rules say they were implemented 27 years ago in a different media landscape. The current regulations restrict the consolidation of local radio and, according to the submissions, hinder the ability of radio stations to compete with tech giants. 

The broadcasters argue that the competition for audience and advertising has intensified since 2021 and is expected to continue as non-broadcast media outlets, owned and controlled by the largest companies in America, continue to expand. Unless outdated and overly restrictive ownership restrictions are removed, over-the-air radio stations will struggle to provide current service levels, which is not in the public interest.

The executives collectively urge the FCC to remove the antiquated regulatory barriers hindering radio’s ability to compete in the modern market. They are endorsing a proposal from 2019 to eliminate local radio ownership rules. 

The remarks were expressed and endorsed by a group of industry leaders, including Jeffrey D. Warshaw, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Connoisseur Media, LLC; Thomas A. Walker, President of Mid-West Family Broadcasting; M. Kent Frandsen, President of Frandsen Family Stations; Michael Hulvey, Chief Executive Officer of Neuhoff Communications; W. Lawrence Patrick, Managing Partner of Patrick Communications, LLC; Allison Zolot, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Townsquare Media, Inc.; Michael Wright, Chief Operating Officer of Midwest Communications, Inc.; Lynn Deppen, President of Forever Media, Inc.; Gary Shorman, Chairman of Eagle Communications, Inc.; and Susan K. Patrick, Managing Partner of Legend Communications, LLC.

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News Radio

Former WAMU Reporters Take to Social Media After Layoffs Hit

Many of those affected by the layoffs took to social media to share they were included in the cuts, while others shared their displeasure with leadership and station management over the move.

Barrett News Media

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A photo of the WAMU logo

WAMU made a round of layoffs Friday morning that eliminated the positions of 15 employees on staff at the Washington D.C. NPR affiliate.

The outlet claimed it was ending its local news digital outlet — DCist — in an effort to refocus its strategy on audio offerings. When users attempt to go to the DCist website, a message appears reading “Thank you for visiting and supporting DCist. Since 2018, it has been a part of WAMU 88.5, the Washington region’s public media and NPR member station. As of February 23, the site will no longer publish new content. Please visit WAMU.org for local news and programming. You will be automatically redirected to WAMU.org in 15 seconds.”

Many of those affected by the layoffs took to social media to share they were included in the cuts, while others shared their displeasure with leadership and station management over the move.

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Nick Kayal: Widespread Phone Outages Shows Need for AM Radio

“It’s something that we need to continue to highlight and re-emphasize not just for this audience, but I think it’s also important to reach people beyond the little box that we live in, in talk radio.”

Barrett News Media

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A photo of Nick Kayal
(Photo: Nick Kayal)

Millions of AT&T and Verizon customers were left without use of their mobile devices due to widespread outages Thursday morning. 1210 WPHT morning host Nick Kayal believes it highlights the need for AM Radio.

While discussing the outages on Kayal & Company Friday morning, Nick Kayal argued that both the lack of cell phone coverage and the convergence of members from both sides of the political aisle coming to AM Radio’s defense shows the need for the medium to continue.

“Yes, we look at it selfishly. First and foremost, I think from a career standpoint, because of free speech and stations like Talk Radio 1210, that might never be on FM. Yes, you can get us on the Audacy app. Yes, you could watch us on YouTube. But we might always just be on AM, specifically, when we talk about am and FM.

“Now imagine it’s 2042. You’re driving a Tesla. And we have one of these communication failures where the grid goes down, so to speak, and you can’t use your phone. And you also compounded the issue with not having an AM radio. We speculated earlier this morning, if in fact this was a hack job. And you know, China does something like this or Russia…Now imagine throwing into the equation not having AM radio from a safety standpoint, you’d want to tune into 1210 in the in the event of a disaster or an emergency, or our sister station, KYW 1060.”

Kayal continued by noting that the message needs to continue to be shared not simply with those inside the industry, but to the general public.

“I really think, as we continue to pay attention to this story, it’s something that we need to continue to highlight and re-emphasize not just for this audience, but I think it’s also important to reach people beyond the little box that we live in, in talk radio,” he concluded.

Nick Kayal also gave kudos to The Atlantic, which had shared a story with the headline “Your Phone Has Nothing on AM Radio,” noting that it’s no longer just right-wing publications sounding the alarm on the issue at hand.

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WAMU Institutes Round of Layoffs, 15 Employees Let Go

WAMU plans to launch a local program with hopes of adding an additional app for the station. It also plans to expand its political coverage to include Maryland and Virginia, in addition to Washington D.C.

Barrett News Media

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A photo of the WAMU logo

WAMU, the NPR affiliate in Washington D.C., has instituted a round of layoffs that will see the jobs of 15 employees cut, with a shifting focus to audio upcoming.

The outlet is ending its DCist local news site amid the focus change, with the company saying the move allows it to prioritize its audio offerings.

“We’re making the choice to invest in what we’re better at than anyone else in this town, and that’s audio,” General Manager Erika Pulley-Hayes told Axios.

The report from Axios also claims WAMU plans to launch a local program with hopes of adding an additional app for the station. It also plans to expand its political coverage to include Maryland and Virginia, in addition to Washington D.C.

According to the latest Nielsen ratings, WAMU is the highest-rated station in the Washington D.C. market, finishing atop the rankings with a 12.7 share in the January ratings period in persons 6+.

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