Federal Communications Law Journal

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Publication Date


Publication Citation

52 Federal Communications Law Journal 473 (2000)


The Telecommunications Act of 1996 eliminated nationwide radio ownership restrictions and liberalized local ownership caps. As a result of this deregulation, the radio industry has experienced mass consolidation. Faced with an unprecedented number of proposed mergers, the federal antitrust enforcement agencies play an increasingly important role in the outcome of media mergers. The Horizontal Merger Guidelines, the primary vehicle of antitrust enforcement, address primarily economic factors to prevent anticompetitive mergers. Despite the healthy revenues generated through economies of scope and scale, it is questionable whether a sufficient regulatory mechanism exists to ensure diversity of voices. Although it is still too early to know the full effects of deregulation, consolidation may endanger content diversity and preclude the participation of smaller players.