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Protect Local Radio

Standing up for local radio by taking on Big Broadcasters

Consolidation within the radio industry has created a market where ten radio corporations own hundreds of AM/FM stations across the country. What’s more, these companies are responsible for about half of the revenue generated by the nearly $17 billion radio industry. “Big broadcasters” control many of the most popular stations across the country, in communities small, medium and large.

While declining in number, locally-owned radio stations still exist. We stand with them as they attempt to compete in their communities against big clusters of corporate-owned radio stations.

Radio consolidation has already limited competition, reduced diversity, harmed localism and damaged local broadcasters. Allowing further consolidation will exacerbate these problems, harming local communities across the country.

As we stand up for robust competition among radio broadcasters in local communities, we also ask that radio stations– big and small– stand up for music creators. We believe truly local and community radio should be given every opportunity to compete with local groups of radio stations owned by big broadcasters. That’s why under legislative proposals we’ve supported, big broadcasters would pay music creators similar to streaming services and satellite radio while local AM/FM stations with annual revenues below one million dollars would pay just $500 a year, covering all the music they play for little more than a dollar a day. Public, college and other noncommercial stations would pay only $100 a year. Broadcast of religious services, talk radio and incidental uses of music would not pay any royalties at all.

Now big broadcasters are actively lobbying the Trump administration to allow their companies to get even bigger. We oppose any effort by big 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.

Big radio’s proposal, if enacted by the Federal Communications Commission, would mean that EVERY radio station in markets like Chattanooga, TN, Springfield, MO, Madison WI and El Paso, TX could be owned by a single company. That would mean fewer choices, less diversity of content and voices on the air, and far less localism for AM/FM listeners.

Send a Public Comment to the FCC

We have provided an opening sentence and some suggested talking points to help you build out your message. We want the FCC to understand the impact this decision will have on local communities. Please feel free to personalize your comments by mentioning specific local radio stations or programming you’re hoping to protect.

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