A new study by the Future of Music Coalition, titled False Premises, False Promises, has found the consolidation of radio ownership into the hands of a relatively small number of corporations has limited musical diversity on radio. Following the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the lessening of ownership restrictions, the number of companies owning radio stations have declined since 1995. The ten largest corporations in the industry owning radio stations have increased their holdings by nearly 15 times while the fifty largest corporations have increased their holdings by 7 times. The top four corporations have consolidated their advertising revenues, receiving 50% of the market, while also increasing their listener concentration with the top four corporations having 48% of listeners and the top ten having nearly two-thirds of radio listeners. At the same time, in every local market the number of stations owned by the largest entity in the market has increased and concentration of ownership has also increased. An index created by the Future of Music Coalition found that local ownership dropped by 28% since 1996.
According to the study, this consolidation is resulting in a homogenized radio environment where just fifteen formats make up 76% of commercial programming. The largest holding corporations tend to program heavily in only eight formats, further lessening diversity. The study further found that there is significant overlap between formats with formats overlapping as much as 80%. Moreover, stations with similar formats owned by the same corporation can have play lists that overlap by 97%.