The radio station, whose call letters are KHIL, has long been the daily soundtrack for this frontier town (population 3,500) that prides itself on its cowboy culture and quiet pace of life. But six decades after the founding of the station, the property is in foreclosure, with utility disconnect notices coming nearly every month.
Small-town radio is fizzling nationwide, as stations struggle to attract advertisement dollars. And as station owners are forced to sell, media conglomerates snap up rural frequencies for rock-bottom prices, for the sole purpose of relocating them to urban areas. In a more affluent market, they can be flipped for a higher price. With limited frequencies available, larger broadcasters purchase as many as possible â€“ especially those higher on the dial â€“ in a race not dissimilar to a real estate grab....
The situation in Britain is interesting, 'Chris' for those in Britain. The TV license fee is still being collected? How? Is it just part of your annual income taxes or do they send someone to your door to collect? I've seen the vans they send out to detect illegal use of TV, which is probably why that old TV show, "The Prisoner" with Patrick McGoohan, got its start. There is no way the US would ever accept such a fee or monopoly of the govt over TV. But, at the same time, 'high brow' radio stations here will have the BBC World News at the top of each hour.
Local radio in Britain is a fairly new phenomenon.
Apart from illegal pirate radio stations (usually pop based) in the 1960â€™s and 1970â€™s, basically the BBC had a compete monopoly, for decades, since its foundation in the 1920â€™s, and the service was mainly national, but with some regional programmes, until truly local BBC and private commercial stations were specially licensed by the 1980â€™s.
There was also when I was in college, a special scheme for very local generally non-commercial stations that were allowed to run for a temporary period of time over a very limited area for special occasions. There was something like that in the University next to my college for about a month each year, run by the students.
Also the infamous BBC licence fee, which covered both radio and television, was completely taken off for radio, (and in my opinion, should be taken off for television as well).
Now with the advent of the internet, digital radios, and even many work places have â€śclosed circuitâ€ť type radio stations, there has been a tremendous increase in this kind of coverage. It is still however strictly regulated.
Interesting to see the article comes from a British periodical. You might think Yahoo News, CNN, or MSNBC, would pounce on this story since it seems to illustrate the power of the Big Bad Capitalists taking over radio stations. A good question would be to ask, what is the future of radio? Who even listens and to what do they listen to? The liberals answer to Rush Limbaugh was Air America and it failed, due to lack of ad revenue. I'm surprised PBS Frontline program did not do a study on that, but why publicize when liberal schemes fail, like Head Start. Conservative talk radio dominates the radio waves, with Dave Ramsey, Christian financial advice show coming in third. People find it entertaining to listen to other people's financial problems, since once they hear Dave's steps, they can apply them to their own situation, if they want. And then they like to hear political commentary from people they agree with. Nothing new there. Another side to this story is the multi-lingual aspect--how many of these radio stations are being bought by people who can run them in Spanish, Chinese, Haitian, etc.? In California it must be interesting to see this operate.