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Current Methods of Measuring Diversity in Radio Should be Reevaluated, Updated, Media Institute Says in Comments to FCC

FOR RELEASE: April 30, 2002

Contact: Richard T. Kaplar
The Media Institute
703-243-5700

 

Washington, April 30, 2002 – The FCC should consider a new paradigm for assessing diversity in radio that focuses on the number of outlets and formats available, The Media Institute said in comments filed today with the Federal Communications Commission.

The Institute was responding to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) concerning multiple ownership of radio stations in local markets and the definition of radio markets; specifically, whether the FCC should focus on viewpoint diversity, outlet diversity, or source diversity.

"We propose that the Commission evaluate radio diversity on the basis of two measures: outlet diversity (variety of radio and other media outlets available, and number of radio stations in a market) and a new measure, format diversity (number of radio program formats available in a market). Both of these are common-sense, quantifiable measures that reflect the reality of today's radio industry," the Institute said.

Viewpoint and source diversity should be de-emphasized as applied to radio, the Institute noted. The problem of applying viewpoint diversity to radio is that "(1) it is extremely difficult to measure directly; and (2) it is not particularly relevant to today's radio content" the Institute said. Source (ownership) diversity is a bad proxy for viewpoint diversity and may actually result in a smaller variety of formats in a market.