On December 13, FMC released a 152-page, fully-footnoted report called "False Premises, False Promises:A Quantitative History of Ownership Consolidation in the Radio Industry". Data in the report shows that station ownership consolidation at the national and local levels has led to fewer choices in radio programming and harmed the listening public and those working in the music and media industries, including DJs, programmers and musicians.
The report’s release generated loads of press and blog mentions, some of which we’ve linked to below. It also led the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to distribute a pre-emptive press release that called our research "questionable" and filled with "dubious data".
We were not surprised to see this press release; this was the same tactic that the NAB used in an attempt to discredit the validity of our 2002 study, Radio Deregulation: Has It Served Citizens and Musicians? - a report that has been cited over 500 times in the press, quoted in the FCC’s 2004 Report and Order, and in the decision rendered by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Prometheus v. FCC.
FMC prepared and posted a point-by-point rebuttal of the NAB’s statement, available at http://www.futureofmusic.org/research/radiostudy06fmcresponse.cfm
In the rebuttal, Peter DiCola, FMC’s Research Director and the report’s author, methodically points out the evidence contained in the report that countervails the NAB’s claims. Specifically:
If the NAB or its representatives have questions about our research or would dispute our conclusions, we would be glad to debate them publicly, as we always have been. But we can say that, based on our careful and thorough analysis of industry data, we have many reasons for concern about the effects of radio consolidation. Our new study, False Premises, False Promises documents them in detail.
FMC’s study and all appendices and supporting documents are available here:
Radio Is Wrecked—But It Can Be Repaired
John Nichols, The Nation, December 15, 2006
Jerry Del Colliano, Inside Music Media Blog, December 13, 2006
Inside the New Future of Music Coalition Study
Jerry Del Colliano, Inside Music Media Blog, January 4, 2007
Peter DiCola and Jenny Toomey guests on Counterspin
FAIR, December 22, 2006
Watchdog says US public hurt by radio consolidation
Reuters, December 13, 2006
FMC Releases Study On Local Radio And Diversity
FMBQ, December 13, 2006
Giving people power of the dial
Brad Kava, San Jose Mercury News, December 13, 2006
Report: Big Radio Is Fewer Formats, Smaller Audience
Jeffrey Yorke, Radio and Records/Mediaweek, December 13, 2006
Report Finds Radio Sameness
Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2006
Rage Against the Corporate Radio Machine
Radio Ink/Streaming Magazine, December 13, 2006
Coalition Knocks Radio Consolidation
Brooks Boliek, Hollywood Reporter, December 14, 2006
For months, the FCC commissioners have been deadlocked over whether to give the green light to the AT&T and BellSouth merger, a deal valued at over $86 billion. Finally, on December 29, the FCC announced that it would approve the merger, but with an important condition attached. AT&T agreed that, for 30 months after the merger’s closure, it would not provide or sell "any service that privileges, degrades or prioritizes any packet" transmitted over its pipes based on its "source, ownership or destination."
In other words, AT&T agreed to a basic set of principles that establish a practical implementation of network neutrality.
Advocates instantly recognized this as an important development in the fight to preserve network neutrality. The language in this agreement can serve as an initial definition of network neutrality in the policymaking arena, and give members of Congress and regulators a template for future legislation.
It’s also telling that this language came out of an agreement with AT&T, whose CEO Ed Whitacre has been a vocal critic of network neutrality. In 2005 he famously said:
"Now what they [Google, Vonage, MSN, etc] would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain’t going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it. So there’s going to have to be some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they’re using. Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?" (Business Week, November 7, 2005)
FMC remains committed to advocating for network neutrality. In 2006 we wrote two pieces that articulated the value of net neutrality for artists and indie labels. Re-read them here:
Indie-Rock Revolution, Fueled by Network Neutrality
FMC on Preserving Dynamism of the Internet
…and stay tuned for an important announcement about a campaign for musicians and net neutrality in the coming weeks!
Good review of AT&T conditions by Harold Feld from Media Access Project:
From January 10-13, 2007, the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) returns to New York City for its 34th Annual Conference, the largest annual gathering of the global jazz community. Upwards of 8,000 educators, musicians, industry executives, media and students from 45 countries are slated to attend.
On Thursday January 11, FMC representatives will join two IAJE panels at the Hilton New York (1335 Avenue of the Americas). In the morning, FMC Executive Director Jenny Toomey will talk about "Jazz Radio in Crisis: Why It’s a Good Thing" while, across the hall, Deputy Director Kristin Thomson will join the discussion on "Getting Paid in the Digital Age".
Click here for a full schedule and details on FMC at IAJE
At the same time a few blocks away, FMC Outreach Director Jean Cook will be curating a full day seminar at Chamber Music America’s 29th National Conference at the Westin Times Square.
On Thursday, January 11, Jean will lead a pre-conference seminar in partnership with CMA called "Digital Marketing Primer", designed to help artists navigate the rich and varied cultural options available on the internet - from MySpace to Rhapsody to Live365 - and offering a practical approach to improving, establishing, and increasing your presence online and off. On Sunday January 14, Jean will finish her time at CMA with a panel discussion on "Leading in the Digital Age".
CMA details, including how musicians can apply for free registration for the Digital Marketing Primer
On the heels of the release of our study "False Premises, False Promises: A Quantitative History of Ownership Consolidation in the Radio Industry", FMC representatives will join thousands of activists, media makers, educators, journalists, policymakers and concerned citizens in Memphis to mobilize for better media.
On the afternoon of Friday, January 12, FMC’s Jenny Toomey will join advocates from Common Cause, Free Press, PennPIRG and Reclaim the Media for a session called "Winning on the Ground: Strategies for Stopping Big Media". Jenny will talk about how quantitative research can inform and influence the policymaking process, among other things.
On Saturday afternoon, January 13, FMC Policy Director Michael Bracy will take part in "Running Effective Congressional Advocacy Campaigns: What it Takes to Win".
Conference registration is now closed but we hope to see many of you during our stay in Memphis. Full conference schedule
From January 19-23, 2007, FMC will partner once again with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) on their 50th Annual Conference, "Presenting America: Perspectives and Dialogue," taking place at the Hilton New York.
This year, FMC is curating a technology track called "Creating Culture", which includes four sessions on technology and business. In conjunction with this track, we’ve organized a "Creating Culture" blog, chock full of online tools and resources used by web savvy professionals from all areas of the performing arts field, from Flickr, YouTube, and Surveymonkey to MySpace, online listservs, storage, and RSS. The blog launches later in January but you can see it in progress here http://apapcreatingculture.blogspot.com/
We’ll also host a session on Media Ownership. For a full schedule of FMC at APAP.
For more information on the blog or "Creating Culture" at APAP 2007, email our Outreach Director Jean Cook at jean [at] futureofmusic [dot] org
FMC is proud to announce three stellar additions to our hardworking Board of Directors in 2007.
We are thrilled that long time friend and advisory board member, Derek Sivers, is joining the board of directors. Most people already know Derek as the president and programmer of the amazing CD Baby - an artist based portal that represents the true power of the internet to help independent voices be heard, and for artists to be fairly compensated for their work.
We also welcome Kristen Grimm to the board. Kristen is president of Spitfire Strategies, a communications firm that helps social change organizations use their voice in a strong, clear and compelling way to articulate their vision of a better world. Kristen has already been immensely helpful in helping us understand how to turn our ideas into action. She will be an invaluable voice on the board of directors.
Peter DiCola is also joining the board. Peter has been FMC’s Research Director since 2005, but will be leaving this position in February 2007 to finish his Ph.D. and then begin a federal court of appeals clerkship. We are so proud of Peter’s work as our Research Director, and are thankful that he is able to continue his relationship with the organization as he moves forward. You can learn more our board, advisory board and staff here
A quick thanks to all those who gave so generously at the end of 2006. Your financial contributions are most appreciated. And even though it’s a new calendar year, donations still help, and are still tax deductible. Log on here to give.
You can always send an email to suggestions [at] futureofmusic [dot] org">suggestions [at] futureofmusic [dot] org with your comments.
Thanks as always,
Donate to the Future of Music Coalition!
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