Country Stars Bemoan Radio Consolidation to FCC

Dec 11, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The Federal Communications Commission today held its second media consolidation hearing in Nashville and immediately heard warnings from country music singers and songwriters about the impact of radio consolidation.

With TV issues to be discussed in a panel later today, FCC commissioners were told that radio consolidation was making it harder for artists to be heard.

“We used to have music everywhere that comes from somewhere. Now we have music everywhere that comes from nowhere,” said songwriter Rick Carnes, president of the Songwriters Guild of America.

Grand Ole Opry star Porter Wagoner said, “If media rules were the way they are now in 1967, the world would have never heard of Dolly Parton.” Mr. Wagoner introduced Ms. Parton during an Opry broadcast and then saw interest in her and her recordings grow.

George Jones, who called himself “a country music icon” for his years singing country songs, said consolidation “has prevented me from reaching my full potential” and that while he can appear on broadcast and cable TV, he has trouble getting his music played on radio.

“Sugar is sweet, but too much can kill you,” he said of radio consolidation. “Please don’t make it any rougher for recording artists like me or tomorrow’s rising stars.”

Naomi Judd said she “turned off the microphone” of her show for Clear Channel because she could only play the same 20 songs.

Radio broadcasters defended consolidation, with one saying that despite consolidation, there are more radio station owners now than there were years ago.

Today’s hearing was one of six the FCC plans as it reviews media ownership rules in the wake of an appellate court’s decision rejecting the FCC’s last attempt to rewrite media rules.