"It's the programming, stupid!"

Donna Halper dlh@donnahalper.com
Sun May 20 02:54:38 EDT 2012

On 5/19/2012 11:38 PM, Scott Fybush wrote:
> 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.

Okay, maybe that's the answer-- that it was "informal"-- in the 1920s 
and 30s, Shepard certainly owned several stations in the same general 
market (at least 2 in Boston, and 1 in Providence), and that seemed to 
be okay with the government.  But it certainly seemed to be widely 
believed that the FRC and then the FCC did not want too much 
concentration of ownership.  There are also articles I have seen about 
how the Federal Radio Commission wanted owners to avoid buying stations 
in areas that were already perceived by the commission as overserved 
with radio properties.  And in addition, I have seen newspaper articles 
where FCC commissioners during the 30s expressed a belief that a 
diversity of station ownership was desirable.

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