Date Issued: 
September 1, 2002

Scott Roberts, Jane Frenette and Dione Stearns.  

Media Bureau Staff Research Paper 2002-1 (Sept 2002) compares the availability and ownership of media in ten different radio markets at three different points in time.  It provides a count of the number of broadcast outlets, cable systems, direct broadcast satellite systems, and daily newspapers located in those ten selected radio markets for 1960, 1980 and 2000.  It also provides the number of owners for each of the above and the number of unique owners across all these media.

The authors find that, collectively, the number of media outlets and owners increased tremendously over the 40-year period from 1960 to 2000.  The increase in the number of outlets averaged almost 200 percent across all ten markets. The increase in owner count, being somewhat less dramatic due to consolidation, averaged 140 percent.

For cable services, they find that although cable had been present in only two of the selected markets in 1960, it was available in all ten markets by 1980, at which time about one-third of TV households subscribed to cable. Cable subscription doubled in these markets by the year 2000, to about two-thirds of TV households, on average. Cable ownership has also experienced significant consolidation especially in the last several years of this period.

With respect to direct broadcast satellite (DBS) services, the authors find that DBS had been unavailable in 1960 and 1980 but was available nationwide from two companies in 2000.  With respect to newspapers, they find that the count of daily newspapers and owners has generally remained flat in the ten markets since 1960.