Ever since Clear Channel decided to ban Dixie Chicks songs from the airwaves of their stations, I’ve been consciously avoiding Clear Channel-owned stations, which is hard because they own 40% of commercial radio stations in America. Nine stations, both AM and FM, in the Atlanta market alone. They’re all over the dial.
So, to show my solidarity for those that practice AND preach free speech, I turned off 96 Rock, 96.7 The Buzz, The Max, and News Radio 640. And honestly, I don’t miss them at all. Despite their presence nearly everywhere on the dial in most popular formats, I have found alternatives. Stations that were already part of my listening regimen that now carry more weight.
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Even with my righteous indignation intact and my radio dial locked away from the evil empire, I’m still not getting a great enough variety of music into my ears. Web radio, like ACRN: The Rock Lobster (I’m humming it too.), provides the only real outlet to sanitized playlists and the overabundance of Top 40-type music across all formats. What I’m saying is that even with alternatives to Clear Channel, admittedly less icky because they aren’t pushing their conservative agenda, radio still sucks.
Kurt Cobain’s t-shirt was right Corporate Rock Magazines Still Suck. Well, so does corporate radio. And now, Michael Powell, Chairman of the FCC and the duly-nepotized son of the increasingly wet-blanket Colin Powell, has relaxed the rules of media ownership. I hate to use the phrase Pandora’s Box and not have some kind of veiled sexual reference (Heh, heh. Box.), but this is bad. I’m talking cross-the-streams BAD.
If you thought that you heard the same Zeppelin song 20 times a week or that annoying Justin Timberlake jam on the Urban, Top 40 and Light Rock stations all at the same time, get ready to self mutilate, Van Gogh-style. You’re going to be hearing the same shit everywhere once Clear Channel invades your market, if they aren’t already entrenched there. Check out this site where you can search all of Clear Channel’s holdings (excluding their outdoor ad business) by call letters or city. It’s frightening.
Say goodbye to local news, weather or sports. And forget about local interest stories or local artists. Some schmoe in the Clear Channel fortress of solitude will be taping his afternoon drive show in the mornings with 27 different inflected interjection about [insert your city name here].
I work for a huge media conglomerate; I should know. Letting a corporation like Clear Channel or my own run amok is a very bad idea. We’re all just fodder for the Borg now. Thank God this blog is still free.