Poll Says Consumers Want Radio Diversity

by , Jun 21, 2002, 12:00 AM
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As behemoths like Clear Channel continue to eat up smaller radio companies, and the rest of the big media conglomerates wait out the FCC decision on local ownership, its clear that more radio consolidation is inevitable. However, a new report says consumers might be turning against the tight formats and tighter media radio ownership roster.

The report comes from The Future of Music Coalition, which is an advocate group for artist rights. With today’s tight playlists, recording artists could use some loosening up on radio, so the FMC study should be viewed with a grain of prejudice. Still, FMC’s director of government relations says the study could signal the beginning of consumer dissatisfaction with radio content and therefore open up new business opportunities for small independent businesses.

“If I’m a media buyer, I think it’s important to know that this media is having its creativity sapped and consumers are reacting to it,” says Michael Bracy. “We’re told by big corporations that consolidation leads to lower CPMs and more diversity. But look at what the consumer thinks.”

The survey is part of a larger research study looking at the effects of radio consolidation on musicians and the public. The study is being conducted in partnership with Media Access Project and the Rockefeller Foundation it found that eight of ten favor congressional action to protect or expand the number of independently owned local stations. By a better than ten to one ratio – 76 percent to 7 percent – radio listeners believe that DJs should be given more air time for songs they think will be of interest to their audiences rather than held to playlists.

Half of the respondents – 52 percent – say radio would be more appealing to them if it offered more new music, less repetition and more music of local bands and artists. By a ratio of six to one, radio listeners prefer a long, rather than a short, playlist that provides them a greater variety of songs and less repetition during the week. Seventy-five percent would like to see low power FM stations (LPFM) expanded in their communities, especially if they offer local bands and artists and talk shows on issues of local interest.

The public opinion research firm Behavior Research Center conducted the survey from May 13-20, 2002 via 500 in-depth telephone interviews on a random sample of adults throughout the United States.

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