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.