Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Country vs. Big Radio

A number of legendary country music performers (can you remember when it was "country and western"?) gave testimony recently on the topic of the consolidation of radio into a few powerful corporations. The point of the testimony, which I've heard more in country circles than rock, is that consolidation leads to homogenization and a dearth of outlets for anyone except whoever is hot at the moment. Also factoring in is the use of automated and syndicated programming, so that a Clear Channel station in Jamestown probably sounds no different than a Clear Channel station in Boca Raton or San Francisco.

It is an intriguing legal situation, as previous regulation prohibited much of the mass ownership now practiced by a few large companies. It's capitalism vs. artistic expression, in some ways, as the stations are focused on what people (defined as whatever target demographic with disposible income is at hand) want to listen to currently versus what the artists are performing and writing. There's probably no answer about where the line should lie in controlling monopolies in the interest of preserving vague abstract artistic concepts, so I expect this to be an ongoing issue.


Anonymous Dee said...

Intereating issue. I confess I subscribe to xm radio which I guess along with sirius are the ultimate consolidation. And you know I do feel guilty about it because I do hear the same artists over and over and realize that my listening to this powerhouse is going to make it even more difficult for the band down the street to get airtime.

On the other hand, I like static free radio, like being able to go long sitances listening to same station, like being able to choose from a wide number of stations, and so on.

Yet, I mourn the individual voices of dj's, of knowing that the person I was listening to on the radio is facing the same situations I am, dealing with the same weather, paying the same taxes. etc. And I do miss the excitement of hearing someone or something I wouldn't have chosen on my own, and finding it to my liking. And mostly I feel guilty about the issue you raise.

12:54 AM  

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