Media Consolidation Means Less Diversity

Media consolidation comes at the expense of ethnic diversity and serving the interests of women and minorities, according to several academic studies recently released by the Benton Foundation and the Social Science Research Council. A study by Dr. Carolyn Byerly of Howard University examined U.S. Federal Communications Commission data on minority and women-owned media and found that women hold a majority interest in only 3.4% of radio stations, while minorities own a majority interest in only 3.6%. Peter DiCola of the University of Michigan study found that large media groups focus almost all of their programming on "just six types of formats: news, adult contemporary, rock, classic rock, country, and top 40," making them less likely than smaller media groups to offer diverse fare including classical, jazz, folk, tejano, or gospel. Another survey, of minority audience members, found that many feel the news does not help them to understand the problems that are most important to them — safety, lack of income, and lack of affordable housing — while a significant number of African-Americans perceive widespread bias against their communities.