Why is it that every time you listen to commercial radio that you hear the same songs played over and over? Well one of the biggest factors is the near monopoly that iHeartMedia, formerly known to many as Clear Channel Communications, now exerts over FM radio. Before the 1996 Telecommunications Act, a company could only own up to 40 radio stations. However, after this act was passed, the limit was removed to supposedly diversify the media market; Clear Channel Communications soon after began buying up as many stations as they could. At the present they now own over 1200 stations in nearly every major market within America. They own six stations just in Austin alone: 96.7 KissFM, Kase 101, 102.3 The Beat, 98.1 KVET Austin, 103.1 iHeartAustin, and AM1300 The Zone. Not only do they own these stations, but they also own television stations, outdoor advertising, as well as book many major concerts through out America. This level of media conglomeration clearly seems to be a monopoly. Some court cases have been made against their monopoly, but as of now nothing has been done. This likely has to do with iHeartMedia’s ties to both the FCC and the corporate lobbyists that sway Congress in their favor.
I find iHeartMedia’s monopoly to be sickening; it’s really such a shame that such a large and accessible source of media is controlled by such a lame company. FM radio has just turned into the same bland channels playing the same songs with the same radio shows in nearly every single city within America. I think FM radio could still be used as a source of both new music and local culture; as a DJ at UT’s KVRX and an avid supporter of FM radio, I do my best to do this by playing music that would never be found on their airwaves. Support local and independent media to help end this media conglomeration monopoly held by iHeartMedia and other companies throughout America. Also, here’s a shameless plug for UT’s KVRX: you can listen online anytime at kvrx.org or tune into 91.7 FM.