The regulation was created to protect AM Top 40 stations from the FM Radio Menace that sought to kill them off with their better sound. Sure enough, now AM stations are disappearing, being replaced with talk radio, all-news stations, all-sports stations and some community and student radio stations. Portable music players are being built with FM-only tuners (where radio tuners are built-in at all), which will lead to further erosion of the AM listening base.
What does this law say about our radio broadcasting industry? Sadly, radio stations are failing to realize that having a 1,000-song playlist and virtually no indie content or DJ autonomy means that nobody wants to listen to your stations. Now they’re really starting to feel it as people tune to podcasts, Internet radio and songs they’ve ripped from their own CD collection.
I certainly hope their solution to that problem isn’t “more top 40 hits.”
Deadline for comments is March 4.