Consolidation - The Bad & The Ugly

Ten years ago during the euphoria surrounding the passage of the Telecommunications Act I spoke out against media consolidation as publisher of Inside Radio. Not only that, I exposed as often I could, the heartbreak of an industry. I saw able managers overloaded with the responsibility of running too many stations. People fired because they got in the way (we wrote of a cancer patient who one of the consolidators fired even knowing he was being treated for the disease). The disconnect between Wall Street euphoria and Main Street neglect. Questionable practices like packaging more than the stations some groups owned with LMAs to offer advertisers an even bigger platform than I believed the law allowed. Some days the front page read like consolidation was all the news radio had. I took a lot of bullets for my early stance against media consolidation like my advertisers being warned that continued support of Inside Radio would mean not being able to do business with the growing groups. I was the target of personal attacks, needless litigation and my deceased father was even referred to as a mafioso. As I have said before, it all worked out for me in the end with a few unscheduled detours along the way. I was against consolidation then and remain steadfastly against it now. Media consolidation benefits only the few in control and their investment bankers not even their shareholders as witnessed by the across the board decline in shareholder value for those suckers who invested and held radio stock. I say this as I wait to hear what the first defector -- Clear Channel -- is going to do next. Sell all or the majority of their 400 plus spin-offs to one group (a tidier deal) or return the stations to their rightful "permitees" to run them in the interest of the people.