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Border Radio

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Silver lining on FCC rule change - Clear Channel kicked in the jimmies in San Diego:

    Radio giant Clear Channel Communications Inc. will have to bid adios to much of its clout along California’s southern border.

    Under provisions in the fine print of last week’s federal order establishing new media ownership rules, the San Antonio-based company must reduce the number of stations it owns or controls in the San Diego listening area over the next two years, either by cutting ties to some of its five affiliated Mexican stations or selling some of its seven U.S.-licensed stations.

    The Federal Communications Commission’s recent regulatory overhaul lets broadcasters keep clusters of radio stations whose reach exceeds the limits of new marketplace boundaries. But regulators didn’t extend that protection to Clear Channel’s exotic affiliate agreements — in which the company bulked up its San Diego presence by making side deals with Mexican stations that broadcast north of the border.

    The arrangements created one of the biggest radio powerhouses ever built in a U.S. market. Clear Channel captures an estimated 44% share of San Diego’s $165-million radio market. That is the company’s biggest slice of any of the nation’s 20 biggest cities and roughly triple the share its nearest rival holds in San Diego, according to research firm BIA.

    Clear Channel probably will have to shed at least four stations to comply with the changes. [LA Times]

Two words: ha ha. Wolfman Jack is howling with delight in that Great Border Station in the Sky.

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