"It's the programming, stupid!"

Scott Fybush scott@fybush.com
Sat May 19 23:38:13 EDT 2012

On 5/19/2012 10:29 PM, Donna Halper wrote:
> On 5/19/2012 9:56 PM, Garrett Wollman wrote:
>> Throughout most of "the top-40 era", the limits were 7/7/7. In the
>> 1930s, there was no limit on the number of stations one could own (all
>> AM, of course).
> I don't want to disagree, but are you certain there was NO limit? I was
> under the impression there WERE limits during the 1930s-- owners could
> own one station per geographic area, or something like that... let me go
> find my notes, but I do remember certain limitations.

I haven't found any official rules limiting station ownership prior to 
the imposition of the no-duopoly rule in 1943. Informally, it appears 
that the FRC and later FCC frowned on an owner controlling more than two 
AMs in a market. The Buffalo Broadcasting Company briefly controlled 
four stations in the market (WGR, WKBW, WMAK, WKEN) between 1928-1930, 
but it was, shall we say, "strongly encouraged" to divest the WMAK 
license and eventually shut down WKEN as well.

On the national level, the FCC allowed (and may even have encouraged) 
owners - especially NBC - to extend their ownership reach far beyond 
seven markets through the use of LMAs. Through much of the 1930s, NBC 
effectively controlled the Westinghouse and GE stations through what 
we'd now recognize as LMAs. I believe CBS had similar arrangements in a 
smaller number of markets as well.

The "Report on Chain Broadcasting" in 1941 and its subsequent regulatory 
fallout changed that in a big way, severely limiting the amount of 
control networks could exert over affiliates and ending those LMA 


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