Feingold: A Communications Genius
Sen. Russ Feingold took it upon himself to make a statement regarding the buyout of Clear Channel. Says our communications guru:
Clear Channel has been the poster child for rapid consolidation in the radio industry, which has severely damaged the diversity, local flavor, and popularity of radio. I hope the recently announced sale and divestment of around 450 stations marks an end to this ill-conceived experiment. And I urge the FCC to start taking more seriously its obligation to ensure the greatest benefit to the radio listener through increased localism and competition.
While I'm not a huge fan of Clear Channel, I'm even less enthusiastic about the FCC. Nevertheless, Feingold's statement is idiotic on several levels.
When the FCC wrote the bulk of broadcasting rules that are still in practice, the world we live in was most often the subject of sci-fi movies. At that time most people had one of two ways to receive their news: through the radio or from a newspaper. Later on, television entered the mix. The pool was still pretty small and the idea of protecting consumers from monopolies a good one.
Fast forward to the Year 2000 (I hope you heard Conan's voice in your head when you read that). People have more choices for media consumption than ever before. If you don't like a radio station, you've got more than a couple to choose from. If you don't like those, you can go to satellite radio. Network TV or cable? Pick your poison. USA Today, The New York Times or the Journal Sentinel? You can most likely get at least these three and probably several other choices at your local grocery store thanks to advancements in printing and telecom.
And hey, recently, this thing came out that they call the Internet. With the internet, consumers can access news from all over the world! Hard to believe, isn't it? That's right streaming media, podcasts, blogs, all of these combine to diversify the media landscape making consumers less at the mercy of Broadcast groups, and making news organizations more at the mercy of citizen journalists.
People today do not need to depend on Federal organizations to ensure that all sides of the story are told like they may have in the past. Only an idiot would think that the divestment of Clear Channel is going to have much effect on radio at all. Besides, not one of the stations sold resides in a market even worth talking about. Which takes me back to my original point: Russ Feingold is an idiot.