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Radio AM to FM: July 12, 2002

KABC (790 AM) and the Los Angeles County Fire Department have joined together in order to help give some of the widows, widowers, and children of New York's firefighters and police officers who lost their lives on September 11th a break from the daily reminder of the tragedy.

Dubbed "Operation Blue Sky," the fund-raising effort hopes to give 100 family members an all-expense-paid vacation to Southern California, where KABC and County firefighters will personally entertain them at some of the area's most popular attractions and sights.

Airline tickets, meals, hotel rooms, theme parks and sporting events will all be included, although no mention was made of our fabulous beaches. The project runs through September.

"Words cannot convey the sorrow and pride we feel about these brave firefighters and police officers who made the ultimate sacrifice to save others," said KABC Community Affairs Director Nelkane Benton. "Operation Blue Sky is a small gesture to honor the families of these heroes."

For information on how you can help, call Benton at (310) 840-4915.


Infinity Broadcasting, owner of popular local stations including KROQ (106.7 FM) and KRTH (101.1 FM) has joined other mega-corporations in the industry in forbidding employees to speak with the press.

According to industry newspaper Radio World, as part of a larger business agreement employees are being asked to sign, a section is included that forbids Viacom or Infinity workers from speaking or providing any information to the media, whether on or off the record.

Disney/ABC and Clear Channel supposedly have such clauses in their contracts; I guess I'll have to go back to making this stuff up.

In a related story, Infinity, Disney/ABC and Clear Channel are all being forced to divest of every one of their stations. No one at any company could be reached for comment. (Just kidding). (Unfortunately).


Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold has followed through with his promise to try to reign in monopolistic radio companies. According to BroadcastRadio.Com, Feingold has proposed a bill that would:

•Strip companies owning both radio stations and concert promoters of their broadcast licenses if they discriminate against unaffiliated musicians, promoters and stations.

•Trigger an FCC hearing to prove there is no discrimination when a radio merger gives the buyer a 60% national audience reach

•Bar the FCC from raising local ownership limits.

•Count local marketing agreements toward the local ownership cap.

•Forbid the modern version of "payola."

•Require that the FCC ensures Arbitron ratings are not manipulated.

Of course, the major companies that are the focus of the bill (mainly Clear Channel) claim that they do not even come close to engaging in any such behavior covered by the bill. Interestingly, even though they supposedly do not engage in such behaviors, they -- especially Clear Channel -- are already campaigning to stop it from becoming law.

Which begs the question: If they don't do it, why are they so concerned? Hmmmm?


Copyright © 2002 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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