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Country legends to testify at FCC hearings in Nashville
Posted By Bill Larson On Wednesday, December 6, 2006 @ 6:41 pm In News | No Comments
George Jones, Porter Wagoner, Naomi Judd to join hundreds of citizens concerned about the costs of media consolidation
NASHVILLE — On Dec. 11 in Nashville, legendary country musicians George Jones, Porter Wagoner, Naomi Judd, Dobie Gray and Craig Wiseman will testify about media consolidation’s impact on musicians at an official Federal Communications Commission hearing. They’ll be joined at the event by dozens of community leaders, several award-winning journalists, and hundreds of concerned citizens from throughout the region who are speaking out in response to the FCC’s plans to change media ownership rules.
“I’m excited that pioneers of music and journalism — winners of Grammy Awards and Pulitzer Prizes — are speaking out about media ownership,” said U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper (D-Nashville), who will also testify at the event. “Preserving a diverse spectrum of media voices is important to Nashville, and it’s essential for a healthy democracy.”
All five FCC Commissioners are expected to attend the hearing, which will feature an “open microphone” session for the public to offer testimony on a first-come, first-served basis.
“I encourage every citizen to attend this Monday’s full Commission hearing on the music recording industry and Nashville’s local media,” said Commissioner Michael J. Copps. “The FCC desperately needs your input as it considers the future of America’s media. Please come help us make sure that the nation’s airwaves remain the people’s airwaves – used to promote localism, diversity, and the public interest.”
Musicians and songwriters are increasingly at the mercy of a consolidated radio industry. More than half of Nashville’s commercial radio stations are controlled by outside owners. Two national conglomerates — Clear Channel and Cumulus Broadcasting — dominate the Nashville radio market, each owning five stations.
“Our forthcoming economic analysis of radio programming shows that the overwhelming majority niche musical formats like Classical, Jazz, Americana, Bluegrass, New Rock, and Folk, where they exist, are provided almost exclusively by smaller station groups,” said Jenny Toomey, executive director of Future of Music Coalition, who will participate on the musicians’ panel at the Monday hearing. “Nashville’s classic country music fans who want more Americana, Bluegrass and Folk should understand that further radio consolidation will have exactly the opposite effect on their radio dial.”
The possible media ownership rule changes up for debate could further eliminate local radio owners by allowing big national conglomerates to get even bigger. Clear Channel has petitioned the FCC, asking to own as many as 12 radio stations in a single local market.
“The public owns the airwaves, but the big corporations that own media outlets determine what we see and hear on the air,” said Harold Bradley, international president of the American Federation of Musicians and President of the AFM’s Nashville Local. “As media ownership becomes increasingly concentrated, music on the air has grown more homogeneous, to the detriment of recording musicians, local music communities and the public.”
For more information, visit http://www.stopbigmedia.com/=nashville 
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