Sherrod Brown’s 2 cents and the Facts on the Cincy-Progressive Radio-Dusty Rhodes-Dust-up

Progressive Radio Friends,

The facts behind my position:

  • I looked at the Arbitron Ratings in January, 2006 when Progressive talk was still on WCKY (after one full year of operation) and the Sports Format (“the Homer”) was still on WSAI. At that time, WSAI was ranked 15th (out of 38) with a 2.4 share. WCKY was 18th with a 1.3 share. As I said in my mail to Rhodes, this isn’t great, but it isn’t terrible either. There are 38 stations in the ratings and by definition, that means there are going to be 38 stations ranked. Being in smack in the middle is bad? I say no, not when these people get a FREE license to use public airwaves.

  • In July, 2006 Clear Channel, led by Darryl Parks (who is a right wing zealot) moved the Progressive Format off of WCKY and over to WSAI. Here is an article which was written at the time. It has a celebratory tone about it, i.e. the “liberals” failed and they’re being demoted, but it also contains some data which I quoted in my emails and it also lends some insight into Mr. Rhodes position.

http://radioequalizer.blogspot.com/2006/07/jerry-springer-cincinnati-wcky.html

The article thanks email contributors like “Dusty Rhodes” for alerting them to the story. (Look at the caption next to Springer’s picture on a screen shot from Fox News).

As you could all deduce from my email, Dusty Rhodes was obviously VERY upset when his oldies format got kicked off of WCKY to make way for Jerry Springer and Air America. Perhaps he’s been stewing about this for a LONG time and my editorial last Saturday really touched a nerve. Perhaps given the circumstances, he was not exactly rooting for the success of the format.

  • Look at this article which was written when Clear Channel pulled the plug on the format at WSAI in December, 2006:

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2006/12/04/daily52.html.

The article backs up my email to Rhodes which quoted WSAI’s share as 1.5 and 18th (out of 38) in the rankings when this decision was made. What’s this mean? It means that even after the Progressive format got moved from a 50,000 watt station (WCKY) to a 5,000 watt station (WSAI) in July, it held the same share it had earlier the year on the stronger station! The audience was not large but it was loyal! The article clearly states that Clear Channel did this for “cost cutting”. We got shafted!

  • I then looked at the ratings for Spring 2007. WSAI is NOT EVEN on the LIST! Meanwhile, WCKY, the Sports Channel Darryl Parks moved to 1530 when he kicked Progressive Radio over to WSAI was ranked 20th with a .8 SHARE! They lost 66% of their audience! Meanwhile, Dusty Rhodes’ WDJO 1160 has (guess): Answer: They have a 1.0 share and they’re ranked 18th!

Ok, I’m sorry to bomb you with data, but that’s what you get for befriending an engineer.

The original point of my editorial in the paper was that the 1996 Telecommunications Act has resulted in a monopoly in the radio industry, and the owners are not on our side. I was advocating the three points the CAP stressed with their report:

  1. Amend the act to restrict Monopolies like Clear Channel, Cumulous, and others from buying up all the stations.
  2. Remove the rubber stamp process for license renewals. The Act had changed the renewal period from 3 yrs. to 8 yrs. and no longer required the stations to get any public comments about how well they are serving their communities – a requirement for having a license!. (If you don’t think the bandwidth these stations get isn’t valuable, ask the phone companies how much they pay for cell phone bandwidth).
  3. Therefore, roll the renewal period back to 3 yrs. and reinstitute public comments. Then all of us could have organized against Clear Channel when they did this to us.

I hope you all noticed that the one point Dusty Rhodes said he agreed with me about was the 1996 Telecommunications Act and the subsequent monopolization of the radio industry. That’s interesting, because his article in the paper accused me of “socialism” when I advocated a repeal of some of the points in the Act. I also hope you noticed that when he ranted against the evil TV networks, he left Fox News off of his list. He also didn’t mention that his statement is nearly a direct quote from Bill O’Reilly (or he’s a frightening thought: maybe O’Reilly got his talking points from Dusty! Oh my God!)

Yours in the Cause

Jerry

P.S. Senator Sherrod Brown totally supports the above measures. I’ve attached his response to me, for your own information.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “Sherrod Brown” <do_not_reply@brown.senate.gov>
To: “Baker, Jerry R
Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2007 18:44:02 -0400
Subject: Reply from Senator Sherrod Brown
Dear Mr. Baker:

Thank you for expressing your concerns about the loss of Air America, Radio Free Ohio, and other liberal talk shows on Ohio radio stations.

A number of Ohio radio stations owned by Clear Channel Communications recently dropped liberal talk show programming on their radio stations and switched to alternative formats. While Clear Channel has the freedom to broadcast material of their choosing on radio channels they own, this situation does bring up issues of media consolidation.

The increasing consolidation of media ownership is troubling. The clearest example of ownership consolidation is radio. The most recent study shows that since passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, there are at least 1,100 fewer radio station owners, a decline of nearly 30 percent. In almost half of the largest markets, the three largest corporations have captured 80 percent of the radio audience.

During my Congressional career, I have been very active in fighting efforts to further consolidate media ownership. Competition is critical to ensuring a diversity and balance of news reporting, investigation, and ideas. You can be sure I will continue to fight to protect and encourage diversity in media ownership and oppose efforts to remove ownership caps. Thank you again for contacting me.

Sincerely,
Sherrod Brown

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Published in: on July 13, 2007 at 7:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

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