If You Hated Radio In 2011, Then You’ll Really Hate Radio In 2012…

Can’t get enough of repetitive playlists and huge commercial breaks? Then there’s good news: the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to leave its ownership rules around terrestrial radio stations unchanged in 2012, while proposing to loosen cross-media ownership restrictions between newspapers, TV stations and radio.

Which means less people owning more stuff, and lots more Maroon 5, Drake, and Lil Wayne.  But the FCC found that there are still a “sufficient number of independent radio voices” and competition from other formats to leave the rules the same.  Which basically means that if you hated broadcast radio in America in 2011, then most likely, you’ll hate it in 2012 as well.

The rules themselves are a bit complicated.  But in a market with at least 45 stations, one company can own as many as eight commercial stations, with no more than 5 on one band (ie, FM).

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That’s a lot of stations, but who really cares about stodgy broadcast radio anymore?  After all, there are millions of other options for sidestepping traditional radio, including Pandora, Spotify, iPods, smartphones, and Sirius XM Radio.

In fact, there’s a total oversupply of options! Yet none of those alternatives have to power to create artist careers like old-fashioned terrestrial radio.  Case in point: a recent report by Arbitron found that 93 percent of Americans still listen to traditional broadcast radio at least once a week, in one form or another.  And thanks to tight ownership structures and cozy relationships, major labels now have a near-lock on the playlists of broadcast radio stations.  It’s one of the few formats that can still cut through the clutter, as evidenced by this chart from last year.

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The page-turning ‘Notice of Proposed Rulemaking’ now enters a 45-day period of public commenting, followed by a period of changes based on those comments.

/paul. Written while listening to Clive Tanaka y Su Orquesta.