'Sugar Is Sweet, but Too Much Can Kill You'

Country Singers Testify at FCC Hearing on Media Consolidation

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The Federal Communications Commission today opened its second media-consolidation hearing in Nashville and immediately heard warnings from country music singers such as Naomi Judd and song writers such as Rick Carnes about the impact of radio consolidation.
Naomi Judd and George Jones testified at an FCC hearing today during a hearing on media consolidation.
Naomi Judd and George Jones testified at an FCC hearing today during a hearing on media consolidation. Credit: AP

Music that comes 'from nowhere'
TV and other issues were on the agenda to be discussed in a panel later today. Radio consolidation was the first topic, and FCC commissioners heard testimony that concluded that radio consolidation was making it harder for artists to be heard.

"We used to have music everywhere that comes from somewhere. Now we have music everywhere that comes from nowhere," said songwriter Rick Carnes, president of the Songwriters Guild of America.

Where would Dolly be?
Porter Wagoner, the country and Grand Ole Opry star, said, "If media rules were the way they are now in 1967, the world would have never heard of Dolly Parton." Mr. Wagoner introduced Ms. Parton during an Opry broadcast and then watched as interest in her and her recordings grew.

George Jones, who called himself a "country-music icon," said consolidation "has prevented me from reaching my full potential" and that while he can appear on broadcast and cable TV, he has trouble getting his music played on radio.

"Sugar is sweet, but too much can kill you," he said of radio consolidation. "Please don't make it any rougher for recording artists like me or tomorrow's rising stars."

Naomi's concern
Naomi Judd said she "turned off the microphone" of her show for Clear Channel because she could only play the same 20 songs and also expressed concern that TV was showing too much sex and violence.

Radio broadcasters defended the current state of affairs, arguing that despite consolidation there are more radio-station owners now than there were years ago.

Today's hearing is one of six the FCC plans as it again reviews media-ownership rules in the wake of an appellate court's decision that rejected the FCC's last attempt to rewrite media rules.
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