FCC’s latest gift to consolidators

As of last week broad­cast­ers no longer have to main­tain local stu­dios thanks to a new rul­ing by the FCC. Chair­man Ajit Pai, him­self a for­mer Ver­i­zon coun­sel, pushed to abol­ish the “Main Stu­dio Rule” that was meant to main­tain the local pres­ence of radio.  He coun­tered that it would ben­e­fit minor­i­ty broad­cast­ers because they would not have to pay for an expen­sive stu­dio or staff. You see in Mr. Pai’s world of con­glom­er­ate media, a stu­dio is a piece of cor­po­rate real estate.  But minor­i­ty broad­cast­ers and small town broad­cast­ers glad­ly main­tain hum­ble stu­dios in some of the most impov­er­ished (and low rent) parts of our coun­try. These stu­dios serve as a gath­er­ing place for pro­gram­ming in com­mu­ni­ties that cor­po­rate radio has aban­doned. Local­ly owned radio will con­tin­ue to have stu­dios long after this rule, but the con­sol­ida­tors who wish to buy them out, now have added cash with which to make their acqui­si­tions.

This gift will also allow Cumu­lus to cost cut and may help keep the bank­rupt giant from hav­ing to sell off sta­tions. It also allows the pri­vate equi­ty firms that own Clear-Chan­nel or “I Heart” to fire more staff and tight­en their sta­tus quo of remote con­trol radio.

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