June 20,1996, the day radio as we knew it died. It was on that day that Westing…

Written by on June 20, 2018

June 20,1996, the day radio as we knew it died.

It was on that day that Westinghouse Electric became the first entity to cash in on the new 1996 Telecommunications Act by purchasing Infinity Broadcasting for 3.9 billion dollars. The act relaxed restrictions on how many radio and TV stations one company could own in a single market.

By allowing one owner to own multiple FM radio stations in one market, the new owners found that it saved them money to put the management of all their stations under one roof. Before the multiple ownership rule, each station would have it’s own program director, music director, promotions, engineering etc. You could have 5 Rock and Roll station in one market, playing the same music but all sounding different. With the new rule, they went down to one program director for 5 stations, one music director, etc. If the company owned stations in different cities, they often combined staffs. Radio stations lost their identity. It all sounded the same.

Today there are getting to be more and more stations that are going back to the ‘individual sound’, but they have a lot of ground to make up.

So real quick, what was your favorite FM radio station?

w/ Jim Cahill, Lee Abrams, Mitch Michaels Salchow

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