Quick Action

Contact Congress


musicFIRST, Future of Music Coalitions Voice Support for Local Radio, Opposition to Additional Media Consolidation

30 April 2019

musicFIRST, Future of Music Coalitions Cite Evidence of Radio’s Bias Against Female, Diversity Artists As A Further Consequence of Allowing Bigger Radio to Get Even Bigger

Washington, D.C. (April 30, 2019) – In a joint filing to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), the musicFIRST and the Future of Music Coalitions voiced their strong opposition to a proposal supported by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) that would loosen radio ownership rules and result in fewer choices, less diversity of content and voices on the air, and less localism for AM/FM listeners across the country.

The comments to the Commission come as the NAB and many of its members are aggressively lobbying the FCC to loosen Local Radio Station Ownership caps as part of the FCC’s 2018 Quadrennial Regulatory Review (MB Docket 18-349). musicFIRST’s filing can be found here.

Under the NAB’s proposal, single broadcast entities would be allowed to own or control up to eight commercial FM stations and have unlimited ownership of AM stations in the top 75 Nielsen Audio markets. The NAB’s proposal would also allow broadcasters to enjoy unlimited ownership in Nielsen markets outside of the top 75 and in unrated markets, essentially ending local radio as we know it in these markets.

In the filing, the musicFIRST and Future of Music Coalitions state “the Local Radio Station Ownership Rule in its current form, including current numerical maximums on the number of AM/FM radio stations that one owner can own in a single market, and also including the current AM/FM subcaps, continue to promote diversity, competition, and localism in AM/FM radio in local communities served.”

The Coalitions also focused on the adverse impact that further media consolidation would have on smaller stations and markets, stating that “If the Commission were to further loosen the Local Radio Station Ownership Caps or eliminate the AM/FM subcaps, some smaller clusters of AM/FM radio stations would suffer competitively as other already sizeable local clusters get bigger and wield even more market share than they already enjoy.”

The comments to the Commission, completed on behalf of music creators represented by the members of each of the Coalitions, also focused on the underrepresentation of female and other diversity artists on AM/FM radio and concerns that those biases would be exacerbated by further consolidation of AM/FM ownership.

In the filing, the coalitions state that they “think that it is very important to determine whether gender bias in AM/FM country radio programming, and thus the exclusion of female viewpoints from country radio airwaves, could reasonably be expected to get even worse at local market levels if the Commission were to loosen the Local Radio Station Ownership Caps or eliminate the AM/FM subcaps.”

The Coalitions go on to say that they “strongly believe that more studies are needed to identify the extent to which consolidation of radio station ownership at local cluster levels correlates with a lack of representation of people of color (both recording artists and air talent) on AM/FM airwaves. In our experience, consolidation of AM/FM radio station ownership has been particularly harmful to urban radio audiences, recording artists and programmers.”

In response to the filing, the leaders of musicFIRST and Future of Music issued the following statements:

“We oppose any effort by bigger broadcasters to loosen local ownership rules which, if allowed to proceed, would prevent independent stations and smaller, local AM/FM radio station clusters from competing against increasingly large AM/FM ownership groups,” said Trevor Francis of the musicFIRST Coalition. “Increased consolidation will mean fewer choices, less diversity of content and voices on the air, and far less localism for AM/FM listeners. The FCC should stand with local broadcasters and block this attempt by bigger radio ownership groups to get even bigger.”

“Independent AM/FM radio stations already have a difficult time competing in their communities with larger AM/FM clusters who wield comparatively enormous local market share,” said Kevin Erickson of the Future of Music Coalition. “If allowed to proceed, the NAB’s proposal could all but eliminate independent radio stations and smaller radio clusters in small markets all across America. Music creators support local and independent radio, and we plan on making sure that their voices are heard in opposition to this ill-conceived proposal.”



Get Involved!

Contact your Members of Congress and tell them you stand against Big Radio.

Contact congress
Back to Latest


Press Release
musicFIRST and Future of Music Take on NAB’s Call fo...
May 29, 2020
Press Release
ICYMI: Music Creators Take on Broadcasters in Renewe...
May 28, 2020
Music Creators Take on Broadcasters in Renewed Fight...
May 28, 2020
Press Release
musicFIRST and Future of Music Take On Radio’s Conso...
April 28, 2020
iHeart Doesn't Know What Local Means
February 28, 2020
No Heart Radio:
February 14, 2020
Blog Post
AM/FM Act Playlist
February 06, 2020
Press Release
What Others Are Saying About the AM-FM Act
November 25, 2019
Press Release
musicFIRST Applauds Bill Giving Artists Say Before T...
November 21, 2019
Stay in the Loop


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: musicFIRST Coalition, 800 North Capitol Street, NW, Washington DC, DC, 20002, http://musicfirstcoalition.org. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
By submitting you agree to our Terms & Conditions