Thursday, March 08, 2007

Monopoly Talk Is Monotonous

March 8, 2007

Personally I find the stance of the NAB and their rhetoric that the Sirius and XM merger is a monopoly quite monotonous. In statement after statement, legislators have expressed that there is an overwhelming ability for consumers to hear entertainment and informational content through various mediums.

I was surprised with Mr. Smyth of Greater media at yesterdays hearings. Mr. Smyth is the CEO of Greater media, which owns and operates radio stations and newspapers. Mr. Smyth testified on behalf of the NAB at yesterdays congressional committee hearing, but he merely parroted what David rear stated last week.

Clearly given the statements of many, the NAB should back of their monopoly stance. The majority of those listening and participating in this process simply are not buying that argument.

To illustrate the point, I will speak about one of Mr. Smyth's stations in Boston. The station is WTKK Talk FM. The distinction here is that Mr. Smyth and Greater Media are trail blazers in the area of moving talk radio to the FM dial in the Boston market. I can remember when the station launched with a talk format, and people looked at the move with question. In the minds of many, music was for FM and talk was for AM. Since launch, the station has enjoyed great success, and has developed quite a following. However, by a narrow definition would Mr. Smyth argue that he has a monopoly over FM talk in Boston. Would he argue that his signal is easily received many miles away, where AM stations bring static? Would he state that by going to FM that he broadened his reach at the expense of smaller AM stations?

The fact of the matter is that WTKK will continue to be a success. They talk about national politics as well as local, and it is the local brand of talk that will keep this station with listeners.

Mr. Smyth takes the stance that satellite competes for listeners in his local market, but he does not compete with satellite on a national market. I would argue that it was Mr. Smyth who made the business decision to conduct business in a local flavor, and that in the Boston market he has done a good job of creating compelling reasons for listeners to tune in. Mr. Smyth can also do what many have done. He can syndicate his shows to other stations a la Howard Stern in his terrestrial days. It is no secret that terrestrial radio has had national formats for quite some time. Why suddenly do they want to pretend that their reach is any less than it was? In fact, one WTKK personality, Jay Severin, can be heard in 48 markets across the country

Might I submit Greater Medias own description of WTKK FM:

96.9 FM TALK WTKK is Boston's most listened to FM talk radio station. 96.9 FM TALK, which targets Adults 25-54, was launched in September 1999 and has quickly become the source for instant reaction to current events. Intelligent talk is the cornerstone of 96.9 FM TALK with local hosts including Mike Barnicle with Dan Shaughnessy and Bob Lobel, Margery Eagan and Jim Braude and Boston's #1 afternoon drive host Jay Severin. The day is rounded out with nationally syndicated personalities Imus in the Morning, Bill O'Reilly, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity. 96.9 FM TALK features the most impressive guests in Boston including: Senator John Kerry, Senator John Edwards, Tim Russert, Governor Mitt Romney, Johnny Pesky, Keith Lockhart, Senator Joseph Lieberman, Max Cleland, Tom Brokaw and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to name just a few.

Further compounding the issue is the fact that WTKK FM Boston can be listened to on the internet. Not only is WTKK programming available locally, but also on a national basis as well as a global basis.

To be frank, and with all due respect to you Mr. Smyth.....


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3/08/2007 10:25:00 AM

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