In what is becoming an increasingly disturbing trend, Cox Radio has announced the acquisition of five radio stations along the bustling I-85 corridor between Atlanta and Greenville. Five radio stations owned by the same conglomerate in a 60 mile corridor seems like overkill to me.

This $60 million acquisition is dependent on FCC approval, but that toothless organization essentially rubber stamps whatever Big Media wants, so essentially you can consider this one a done deal.

The stations involved are WNGC-FM, WGMG-FM, WPUP-FM, WGAU-AM and WRFC-AM. They are currently owned by Southern Broadcasting of Athens, Inc.; Southern Broadcasting of Pensacola, Inc.; and New Broadcast Investment Properties, Inc.

As has occurred in other markets you can now look forward to even less local content, and what little local news is broadcast with be duplicated on all five stations. While Cox will argue that the consumer is getting more choice, the consumer is actually getting less choice.

Cox Radio is already one of the largest radio broadcasting companies in the United States. They own and operate 80 stations (67 FM and 13 AM) in 18 markets, including major markets such as Houston, Miami, Orlando, San Antonio and Tampa.

This is just one more nail in the coffin of independent news and programming. No doubt the staff of the five stations involved are currently brushing up their resumes, because layoffs will be happening. This is all done in the name of progress!

Simon Barrett

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