It happened in November 1981 in France… and three decades later in USA. But still, at least, it finally happened. After years of struggle from the guys at the Prometheus Radio Project (including a lawsuit against the FCC), President Obama has signed the Local Community Radio Act, opening amazing perspectives for local low-powered stations around USA.
« In this day of way-too-much media consolidation, stifling program homogenization and the decimation of local news, new voices are critically important to sustaining Americaâ€™s civic dialogue and citizen engagementâ€ FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps
To say the least, this will give some air (pun intended) in the American radio landscape !
In France, 128 Independent radios are gathered (and their ad breaks sold) in « Les IndÃ©s Radios » Economic Interest Group. In 2010, these small-to-medium local-to-regional stations made 76 million euros ! That is a 20% increase since 2009, and as much as 31% increase since 2008. At the end of 2008, having witnessed for two years a negative trend in their sales results, those independent radio stations decided to change their sales house. On Jan. 1st 2009, they signed with TF1 PublicitÃ©.
« If we had stayed with Lagardere, our revenue would have fallen down to a point where it would have become catastrophic for some stations. »Jean-Eric Valli, President of « Les IndÃ©s Radios »
And so not only did those stations increase their revenue in the middle of one of the most violent Advertising market crisis ever in Europe, but in the same time, together they reached 16,1% of national cume !
So.. what’s happening in the small land of France (population : 70 millions), gives serious perspectives to the soon to be created new independent stations in USA ! You’ll see, guys, freedom is a great thing ! :-)