The debate is over just how homogenous and consolidated radio has become, with the NAB attacking a critical study by the Future of Music Coalition before the report was even released. Now the coalition is firing back, with a point-by-point response that leaves most of the broadcasters' case in tatters. For those of us who've seen our fill of industry proclamations that format diversity is at an all-time high, the coalition's most salient observation may be this: "All the studies cited by the NAB equate variety of formats with diversity of programming. This approach overlooks the major issue of format homogeneity -- the overlap between formats. These NAB-cited reports do not recognize that slicing and dicing the same songs over and over again does not increase diversity."
The debate has one drawback: both sides persist in describing the current radio landscape as "deregulated," as though the only rules that mattered were the limits on station ownership that have been lifted in the last decade. Seems to me there's a few more laws to be addressed. Real deregulation would take a scalpel to the legal entry barriers that protect the incumbent industry.