The economic challenge facing AM stations is a big theme in the radio business world of late. Another long-debated issue is the difficulty that minorities face in achieving broadcast ownership.
Here comes an eye-opening development that puts a spotlight on both.
Clear Channel Radio announced that it intends to donate several currently dark radio stations and associated equipment to the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, which will use the stations for training and to “incubate” new minority and women owners. The donation must be approved by the Federal Communications Commission.
The move emphasizes a new MMTC-Clear Channel program that is designed to promote diversity in radio. It also points out how dramatically AM station valuations have changed, when a media corporation finds it in its interest to donate licensed broadcast stations rather than operate them.
Earlier this year, the company donated a transmitter to the MMTC. It now has ratcheted things up dramatically with plans to donate KYHN, Fort Smith, Ark.; WTFX, Winchester, Va.; KMFX, Rochester, Minn., and WHJA, Laurel, Miss. It indicated there are more such donations planned.
MMTC President/Executive Director David Honig said the organization will operate the stations in cooperation with the NAB Education Foundation’s Broadcast Leadership Training Program. “Clear Channel Radio’s generosity and support creates an enormous opportunity not only for our own training programs, but for minority and women broadcasters who would not otherwise have the means to operate their own stations.”
Clear Channel Radio President/CEO John Hogan said the resources can help develop the next generation of broadcasters.
According to NABEF President Marcellus Alexander, the foundation’s Broadcast Leadership Training program has helped 150 radio and television broadcasters sharpen skills they need to acquire stations and advance in their careers. The MMTC-Clear Channel Ownership Diversity Initiative will further that cause, he said.