3.2 Changes in Ownership Diversity
Traditionally, the Commission has been concerned with encouraging diversity in the ownership of broadcast stations so as to foster a diversity of viewpoints in the programming presented over the airwaves. One measure of diversity that is of interest to the Commission is the number of independent owners of radio stations in a local Metro market. Chart III depicts changes in the number of owners by Metro market area. This chart reveals that the decline in the number of radio owners nationally reflects a general trend across Metro markets, and not simply consolidations in a few large or small Metro markets. In March 2000, the average number of owners across all Metro markets was 10.7, with a range of 7.5 in the smallest Metro markets (ranks 101-276) to a high of 26.3 in the "top 10" Metro markets In March 1996, the average number of owners in a Metro market was about 13.5. Thus, from March 1996 to March 2000, there was a cumulative decline of about 3 in the average number of owners per market. This chart also illustrates that the number of owners declines as the market gets smaller.