Big Media and Clear Channel
Capitol Hill observers say media ownership was the most discussed issue by constituents in 2003, trailing only the war in Iraq. The public is overwhelmingly opposed to media monopoly, yet the Bush administration apparently believes the fallout is worth it in return for long-term right-wing business allies dominating the public information channels.
In 1996, with remarkably little public debate, a newly empowered Republican "Contract with America" Congress passed the Telecommunications Act which singled out radio for sweeping ownership deregulation. The big winner has been Clear Channel, who expanded from 40 stations to 1,225 and became the dominant concert and billboard vendor as well. Their widespread abuse of this monopoly position has not been widely reported by the media outlets who are hoping to achieve similar monopoly positions. All this despite widespread opposition to the loss of local independent voices.
Who can stand up to Goliath?
"You have a game plan by a large national corporation to try and capture market share by driving everyone out of the business: overpaying for talent so other promoters can't afford to compete and raising ticket prices on a broad basis so the consumer has to pay for it." -- Greg Perloff speaking about Clear Channel
Another Planet is the production company run by former Bill Graham protege Greg Perloff. Since scoring a coup in booking Bruce Springsteen at SBC Park, this upstart has continued to carve a niche in the face of entertainment giant Clear Channel. Another Planet shows are now being booked at the Greek Theatre, Oakland Arena, SBC Park and many other locations.
This is a good thing, right? Maybe, but as this article from the Sacramento Bee points out, not everyone is throwing confetti just yet. Presents the perspective of Clear Channel, Another Planet and small-time promoters.
Whatever your point of view, here's a breakdown of how it happened in the Clear Channel Archives.
So how did Clear Channel become the big bully of radio and live entertainment? Some of the best coverage of this story has come from Salon.com's Eric Boehlert. We've archived his reports on the emerging monopoly in the Clear Channel Archives.
Hispanic Broadcasting: |
Another Growing CLEAR CHANNEL like Oligopoly Top
The Coming Latin Media Monopoly |
Clear Channel Monopoly Practices Expected to Grow
The Hispanic Broadcasting Company (HBC), the leading Spanish-language radio network in the United States with 63 stations, and Univision Communications, the leading Spanish-language television broadcast company and a major Latino music label, became a combined company controlling almost 70% of the Spanish language advertising in the United States. Univision owned the Univision and TeleFutura TV networks, the Galavision cable channel, 50 television stations nationwide, a record label and an Internet site. HBC's largest shareholder was Clear Channel.
On September 22, 2003, the FCC approved Univision Communications Inc.'s $3.1 billion purchase of HBC, allowing the nation's largest Spanish-language media conglomerate to grow bigger still. The Republican-dominated Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to accept the deal, with the two FCC Democrats contending the merger would hurt competition and limit news and entertainment choices for Spanish-speaking Americans.
Both Univision and Clear Channel are unapologetically pro President Bush in their news programs and talk shows. Particularly ironic for the country's largest minority, neither company head is Latin, although both are prominent politically active white Republicans. More coverage in Aforum.
Learn more about Latin media in the SF Bay Area here:
Another Major Force: TV Azteca
TV Azteca (TVA)
two national broadcast networks in Mexico through 554 owned and operated
stations. It has expanded to the US through Azteca America Network, with
38 stations that cover 78% of the US Hispanic population. Azteca also
owns a music company, Azteca Music, Internt Portal todito.com and the
Monarcas Morelia soccer team. Around 70% of the US Hispanic market,
nearly 33 million viewers or 11.5% of the total US population, has its
origins in Mexico where Azteca owns and operates its many stations.
Hispaniconline.com is an excellent source for Hispanic-related news.
Technology Trends: Copy Protection |
Do new security measures violate fair use laws? Top
Battles over copyright protection aren't only being fought over P2P networks. In an effort to stem music piracy, many CDs are now copy protected, preventing users from "rip and burn" tactics. However, this has angered many consumers who expect to be able to copy songs to personal playlists and mp3 players.
And it's not just the inconvenience of being unable to copy a song for your personal use: there have been many issues with these copy-protected CDs not playing in certain players, especially car stereos. Not exactly the best may to win back music fans who have turned away from CD purchases. Companies like Australia's EMI are 'fessing up to the problems in their technology, but it may be a case of too little too late for angry listeners.
So what now? There has been major backlash against the music industry, with many consumers angrily returning their CDs as "faulty." The next step may be to develop technologies allowing for a limited number of copies. But then, what's to prevent someone from simply duplicating that first copied file? And for that matter, programs like Audio Hijack and Wiretap allow users to record any sound playing through their computer. This seems like a battle the music industry will have a tough time winning.
You can find complete articles on this topic in the Technology Trends section in Aforum.
Fair use doctrine hinges on four issues: 1. if the use is commerical or nonprofit and educational 2. the nature of the copyrighted work 3. the amount of the copyrighted item used 4. the effect on the commerical value of the work
|RESOURCE & LINKS LIST Top|
The National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) (Oakland, CA). a national membership organization of community-oriented, non-commercial radio stations
Media Activist Groups
Department of Justice - http://www.usdoj.gov/
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - http://www.fcc.gov/
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