The FCC designated the application to assign radio station WUMX(FM), Charlottesville, Virginia from Air Virginia, Inc. to Clear Channel Radio Licenses, Inc. for hearing...the first hearing for a media assignment case to be set for hearing on concentration issues since 1969, according to the agency.
The FCC found that the proposed transaction raised competitive concerns by reducing the number of effective competitors in the Charlottesville radio market from three to two. As required, the commission issued a Hearing Designation Order.
Michael Powell stated, "On the record before us, the only significant evidence presented was that the transaction would create a market in which the top two owners would have a combined 94.2% market share. This level of concentration, in the absence of any countervailing considerations or public interest benefits, is simply too significant for us to conclude that, on balance, the transaction is consistent with the public interest."
The commission was applying the transaction to current radio ownership rules. But, the applicants have the right to defer the hearing and have the application evaluated based on the final rules to be adopted in the pending local radio ownership proceeding.
In the hearing, parties would have an opportunity to provide more detailed evidence of market conditions in Charlottesville, as well as any evidence concerning the competitive and other public interest benefits and harms of the proposed transaction.