EFFECTS OF LOCAL-MARKET RADIO OWNERSHIPCONCENTRATIONON RADIO LOCALISM, THE PUBLIC INTEREST, ANDLISTENER OPINIONS AND USE OF LOCALRADIOAbstractThe Telecommunications Act of 1996 and ensuing radio ownership consolidation are blamed for harming
the public interest.
Prior studies examinedimpacts attributed to consolidation on format diversity and other measures; however,none explored inﬂuences on listener perceptions. The present research sought todetermine effects of local-market ownership concentration on listener opinions and useof radio—potentially indicative of stations’ localism and public service—by surveyinglisteners in markets categorized by ownership concentration levels. Findings suggestconcentration does not strongly inﬂuence perceptions; however, overall results indicatepotentially negative consequences from local and national consolidation on amountsof local music, news, and public-service programming; live-local programming;and station responsiveness. Findings suggest policy change that could enhanceradio localism.Keywords: localism, media ownership consolidation, public interest, radio,Telecommunications Act of 1996Listener Opinions3