FMC released a study last year called "False Premises, False Promises" that quantified the destructive impact consolidation had on the radio industry. The report has been quoted at length in the media, but here are a few salient points:
The "localness" of radio ownership – ownership by individuals living in the community -- has declined between 1975 and 2005 by almost one-third
Just fifteen formats make up three-quarters of all commercial programming. Moreover, radio formats with different names can overlap up to 80% in terms of the songs played on them.
Niche musical formats like Classical, Jazz, Americana, Bluegrass, New Rock, and Folk, where they exist, are provided almost exclusively by smaller station groups.
Why are we rehashing old reports?
For people interested in radio consolidation, there's a poignant companion piece to the study that puts a human face on radio consolidation. USC Professor Jerry Del Colliano documents his personal run in with Clear Channel via a lawsuit. Del Colliano said he was sued as publisher of Inside Radio magazine after he came out strongly against radio consolidation. In the end, he was forced to sell Inside Radio. To whom? Take a guess. . . Clear Channel. Del Colliano asks the reader to make his or her own conclusions about the reasons Clear Channel sued him, but it's an interesting cautionary tale.