The NAB says the FCC should continue to relax local radio ownership rules in light of competitive conditions.
“In the radio context there is overwhelming record evidence that existing combinations affirmatively serve the public interest,” the trade association states in its 115 pages of reply comments regarding the media ownership proceeding at the FCC.
“It is equally clear that relaxation of the local radio ownership rule will allow free radio to remain competitive and vibrant, and to continue to serve diverse audiences and local communities, in the sea of options available to today’s consumers.
“By contrast,” NAB said, “the record contains absolutely no verifiable evidence (as distinguished from unsupported assertions) of harm flowing from common ownership of radio stations. Therefore, it would be arbitrary and capricious for the commission not to continue the process of deregulating local radio markets.”
NAB cites competitive pressures for radio, stating that Lehman Bros. predicts 2007 will be radio’s “worst” year since 2001. It also notes Bridge Ratings predictions for 2007 as including “a continued decline in radio listening among the young” and projections that Internet radio listening will grow to reach over 72 million unique listeners.
The record, states NAB, shows that jointly owned stations tend to experiment with innovative formats and to adopt digital HD radio technology more quickly, and that both are good for programming diversity.