Radio AM to FM: August 25, 2000
Evil Empire Grows
The Federal Communications Commission finally approved the merger of AMFM and Clear Channel Communications last week. While the approval was not unexpected, the merger requires the company to sell off about 20 more stations that the 99 required by the Department of Justice, which approved the merger a few weeks ago.
The new, larger-sized Clear Channel now owns about 900 stations in the United States, has an estimated market value of $53 billion, and is ranked 60th on the Standard & Poor 500 list. Previously, Clear Channel came in at 92nd on the S & P list.
The approval paves the way for Channel 103.1 (KACD/KBCD, 103.1 FM) and Mix 95.9 (KXMX) to leave the air in favor of Spanish simulcasting and Corporate Christian, respectively. Neither station will ever see the light of ratings again.
Like Father, Like Son
Chris Morales appears to be heading in the same direction as his father, Mucho. The 16-year-old student has landed a job as producer of Westwood One's syndicated Saturday Night '80s Party which, according to the young Morales, is carried on about 100 stations. You won't hear it in Los Angeles, however, in spite of the fact that the host is KBIG's Todd Baker. KBIG runs an extremely popular Saturday Night Disco show instead.
KFI's popular syndicated host Rush Limbaugh now has his own web site: www.rushlimbaugh.com. But I'm sure fans of his show already knew that.
We Get Letters
"I read your article on the bad state of affairs in which AM radio finds itself," wrote Duke Atti of Redondo Beach. "But aside from the petition submitted by Scott Todd, you didn't say what we as listeners can do to try to help."
For the answer, I asked Todd directly. Here is his response.
"Anyone can file comments with the FCC on this any any other issue. No rulemaking or docket numbers have been issued, which precludes the use of electronic filing, but interested readers can send a signed original letter with about fourteen copies -- one for each commissioner with a few left over for some other key staff members. The letters should reference the Petition for Mandatory AM Receiver Standards authored by Scott Todd and Larry Langford, and would best be sent via registered mail to the Washington Office."
If you missed the original story, Todd is petitioning the FCC to make a ruling on improving AM radio design, focusing on improved bandwidth (frequency response), requiring AM stereo on any radio that features FM stereo, and the elimination of confusing terms such as the use of "AM/FM stereo" on a radio that receives only FM stereo. The idea is that stations transmit a good, clean, high-fidelity signal, but most radios are designed so poorly, you'd never know. You can read the petition in the near future at www.amstereoradio.com.
The address for the FCC is: 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554.
Copyright © 2000 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.
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