Chapter 4 - Radio Today
Judging by the number of radio stations on the air and by the number of radios in homes, there is no doubt that the medium has survived the threat of TV. However, radio receives less than 7 percent of total advertising expenditures. This means that radio is arguably the most competitive of the electronic media businesses.
FCC ownership rules were relaxed in the 1990s causing a fundamental change in radio ownership. Radio stations, once family owned operations, now are merged into groups of stations owned by corporations. Fueled by relaxed ownership regulations, these corporations are leading the consolidation of the radio business. Duopolies allow a single owner to operate as many as eight stations in a single community.
Because of intense competition, most stations have turned to format radio, targeting their programming toward specific factions of society. Some fear these trends are resulting in the franchising and depersonalization of the medium.
Three kinds of noncommercial radio stationscommunity, college, and CPB-qualified compete for audiences with their commercial counterparts. Affiliates of National Public Radio (NPR) are the most influential in this group, though they are subject to the uncertainty of federal funding, and face increasing technical, employment, and programming requirements.
Satellite radio (XM and Sirius) are the newest forms of radio. Service started in 2002 and is expected to grow rapidly. The two competing services beam hundreds of channels to listeners.
Most radio stations have four major departments: operations, programming, sales, and engineering. The GM is responsible for all of the executive decisions at a station.
Radio consolidation has caused considerable shrinkage of the workforce. However, opportunities continue for women and minorities, and positions in sales, promotion, and programming can lead to lucrative careers in senior management.