The interviewee answers, "…F**K radio."
So begins the trailer for a new documentary entitled Corporate FM.
It's a pretty dirty word today. What is Corporate Radio? According to the Urban Dictionary, "Mainstream radio stations that throw the sh*t that record companies call good music at you. They say it is cool and attempt to brainwash you into thinking the same. The fact is corporate radio sucks and you would all be better off turning off your radio and driving to the cool sound of silence."
Well, that's one way of looking at it. Being in radio, I would define it a little differently: Corporate Radio is when a large company owns many radio stations and influences the programming from the "top down" and discourages some individual decisions from the "bottom up." Corporate Radio also believes and relies on technological advancements like computers, automation, voice-tracking, and syndication to cut overhead and leverage content as wide as possible.
And when I say "content" I mean either music formats, deejays, or talk show hosts. Yes: deejays and hosts have become "content."
From a jobs point-of-view, Corporate Radio has been the enemy of employment. When the Radio industry was deregulated by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, companies were give the ability buy more radio stations - and a few did so vigorously. Clear Channel Entertainment & Media was one, Infinity Radio (now CBS Radio) was another, and today Cumulus Media Networks has emerged as a big player.
Most people in Radio will tell you Corporate Radio has ruined the industry. Most people in radio corporations will tell you Corporate Radio saved the industry.
Enter a new documentary film: Corporate FM.
According to the film makers: "Corporate FM is about what happens when a city loses a communal microphone.…Our local infrastructure used to depend heavily on radio, but now there is a communication void in our cities…Radio insiders reveal the series of events that destroyed the media they loved and discuss what can be done to bring back the local owners. They uncover a financial shell game that doomed radio the moment it consolidated."
The People Behind It
Corporate FM is a film that has been in the works for almost a decade. It is the work of Director, Kevin McKinney, Producer Jill McKeever, and Jeff Peak, Director of Photography.