Greater Media's Smyth Comments on Localism Rule Changes

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Greater Media's Smyth Comments on Localism Rule Changes

Jun 4, 2008 3:39 PM

Braintree, MA - Jun 4, 2008 - In his monthly column posted on the company's website, Peter Smyth, president and CEO of Greater Media, comments on aspects of the FCC's recent notice of proposed rulemaking on broadcast localism. Smyth said, "After two decades of radio consolidation, the Commission has suggested a variety of initiatives intended to promote the 'local' part of 'local broadcasting.'"

In particular, Smyth comments on the FCC's suggestion to require radio stations to maintain their main studios within their cities of license. Smyth notes that many stations have studios just outside the borders of their cities of license. Some are just over the line for various reasons, others are collocated with sister stations in consolidated facilities. Smyth added, "A license originally granted to a suburban community that is now part of a major metropolitan area would have to be located within that specific suburban area, period. No matter how far it is from the business community, or whether the traffic pattern passed the city of license by, the studio has to be right there."

Instead of focusing on serving their audiences from their established, cost-efficient cluster facilities, licensees would have to relocate their operations to an area that may or may not have meaning to the bulk of the station's listeners. If enacted, four of Greater Media's Philadelphia stations would have to move approximately 300 yards to be officially within their cities of license. The Greater Media Boston stations would have to be moved to four different studio locations.

While larger owners may be able to cope with the change and add staff to cover the work of the previously shared services, smaller owners may not be able to endure the financial burden.

Smyth made a call to other broadcasters to show the FCC and legislators that radio stations are serving their audiences. "We need to tell all the untold stories about what we're doing in our communities, from blood drives and pet adoptions, to Fourth of July celebrations and Earth festivals, to election coverage and disaster relief."