OF COMMISSIONER KEVIN J. MARTIN
|Re:||Application of Gowdy FM 95, Inc and Clear Channel Broadcasting Licenses, Inc. For Consent to the Assignment of the License of KCGY(FM), Laramie, WY, and Application of Gowdy Family
LP and Clear Channel Broadcasting Licenses, Inc. For Consent to the Assignment of the License
of KOWB(AM), Laramie, WY;
Applications of Golden Triangle Radio, Inc. and Cumulus Licensing Corp. For Consent to the Assignment of the Licenses of WKOR(FM), Columbus, MS, WMXU(FM) and WSSO(AM) Starkville, MS, and Application of Charisma Broadcasting Co. and Cumulus Licensing Corp. For Consent to the Assignment of the License of WKOR(AM) Starkville, MS, and Application of Bravo Communications, Inc. and Cumulus Licensing Corp. For Consent to the Assignment of the License of WSMS(FM), Artesia, MS, and Applications of Radio Columbus, Inc. and Cumulus Licensing Corp. For Consent to the Assignment of the Licenses of WJWF(AM) and WMBC(FM), Columbus, MS;
Applications of Great Scott Broadcasting and Nassau Broadcasting II, L.L.C. For Consent to the Assignment of the Licenses of WCHR(AM), Trenton, NJ and WNJO(FM), Trenton, NJ;
Applications of Cumulus Licensing Corp. and Clear Channel Broadcasting Licenses, Inc. For Consent to the Assignment of the Licenses of WMLF(AM), Columbus, GA, WVRK(FM), Columbus, GA, WGSY(FM), Phenix City AL, WPNX(FM), Phenix City AL, WAGH(FM), Ft. Mitchell, AL, and WBFA(FM), Smiths, AL; and
Application of Air Virginia and Clear Channel Radio Licenses, Inc. For Consent to the Assignment of the License of WUMX(FM), Charlottesville, VA.
I - as well as everyone at the Commission - am concerned about the increasing levels of concentration of radio station ownership that has taken place during the last five years.
Last November, the Commission issued a NPRM undertaking a comprehensive review of how the Commission should assess radio license transfer applications. At that time, I expressed my dismay at the length of time many of these applications had been pending at the Commission. I am heartened that today, we are ruling on the five oldest applications (all pending for over 16 months).
All of the pending transfer applications comply with the structural ownership limits created by Congress in §202(b) of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. I continue to believe such structural limits should make our review of proposed mergers easier, not more complicated. I thus expressed my reluctance last November in agreeing to an interim policy that continued - and expanded upon - the practice of flagging particular transfers for a more detailed analysis, when they would be below the statutory ownership limit. Nevertheless, I voted for the NPRM because it fairly raised the issue of what our policy should be with respect to assessing radio transfers, and it included timing deadlines that would ensure timely action on the pending applications. Today's actions on the oldest applications are a direct result of those deadlines. I am extremely pleased that we finally are providing the parties with resolution.
Each of the applications listed above was subjected to a comprehensive competitive analysis as set forth in the interim guidelines. I agree with the majority of my colleagues that the factors weigh against granting Clear Channel's acquisition of Air Virginia's radio license in Charlottesville, VA. Based on the record before us, I am unable to conclude that this transfer would serve the public interest. I therefore vote to set this application for hearing.