18 December 2004
That mean ol' Fox
The Oklahoma Gazette's Preston Jones is sorely vexed this week by the announcement (on the 6th) that Clear Channel has signed Fox News to produce national radio newscasts. The prospects are harrowing:
The ramifications of what Clear Channel and Fox News Channel are engaging in speaks volumes about the state of information flow in America and doesn't bode well for that most often-trampled privilege: freedom of the press. Now not only will the music you hear be neutered; the news you're hearing may not necessarily be the whole story, either.
Well, okay, if you say so, but try as I may, I can't much get worked up over this Beelzebub/Moloch joint venture. For one thing, it's going to displace, in this market at least, exactly one provider of news. KTOK, Clear Channel's primary news/talk outlet here, will presumably give up its ABC affiliation; rival KOKC, owned by Renda, has recently switched from CBS to ABC. (I have seen nothing to indicate that either Clear Channel's KEBC or Citadel's WKY, the two weaker talk stations, have any changes in store.) At most, we lose a CBS station, and one which trailed badly in the ratings at that.
More to the point, KTOK, already carrying Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, can hardly lurch farther rightward by the addition of five whole minutes (minus commercials) of Fox News on the hour.
Jones does the math:
[I]f all options are exercised, Fox News could have more than 500 affiliates by the middle of 2005.
The presumed big loser in this deal is ABC Radio, which has eleven networks, five of which are targeted to news/talk stations. ABC predominates among existing Clear Channel news/talk outlets; even if they were to lose 500 affiliates, which they won't, it would hurt, but they'd still have around 2000. Westwood One, which distributes CBS, NBC and CNN Radio, services about 1500 news/talk stations. National Public Radio has 750 affiliates. That evil Fox monolith is headed straight for fourth place.
Preston Jones finishes up his article with a mention of AlterNet's ongoing Fox coverage. I figure the least I can do is post a link to it. But the amount of sleep I plan to lose over the Clear Channel/Fox deal can be measured in microseconds.Posted at 2:00 PM to Overmodulation
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