Maze assesses the catastrophe


FCC commissioner Michael Copps says "…help overcome the "catastrophic "results of radio consolidation…"

To define "catastrophic" I believe we have to go back to January 1996, the month before deregulation. What was it like?  Every FM station had a manager and a staff dedicated to that FM.  The FCC wasn’t thinking about redefining localism rules. Jocks were hired on talent not just the sole ability to voice track. Christmas was a good thing, not the time of the year to fear a batch of pink slips coming down the chimney. When you heard the term "regional director" you thought of a person employed by a large insurance company, or McDonalds, but not radio.   

You could air fun station promotions and it wasn’t a sin if it wasn’t sponsored. You could run something up the flagpole by just talking to the guy in the big office (without him/her having to call three people who had to get approval from three other people). All the radio executives we read about today, we didn’t know who they were in January ’96 and could have cared less. If you wanted to buy a radio station, you didn’t have to buy 6, nor did you have to be concerned that the person you were competing with had an advantage because he was buying 15 others markets. The list of differences is nearly endless.  Comparing radio January ’96 to January ’08…perhaps Mr. Coops’ term "catastrophic" is understated.   

Fran Maze

FM Consultants