Twenty five years ago, one of my first clients in the market research business was a man named Don Curtis. I used to drive my 1960 Valiant to Raleigh every day to help him figure out the marketing angles for two of the best radio stations in North Carolina: WQDR and WPTF. We got along pretty well.
Then one day Don decided to switch QDR from classic rock to country. It was a good business decision, but the loss of a legendary station hit me hard. We went our separate ways. The next time I became aware of Curtis Media was many years later when I heard that a flaming right-wing asshole named Rush Limbaugh was being carried on WPTF. WPTF once stood for "We Protect The Family." Yeah, right.
Don Curtis was (may still be) on the Board of Visitors at the J-School in Chapel Hill where my wife works. I used to run into him from time to time. We were always cordial because we're both such nice guys, and we remembered working together fondly.
So tonight I read that Curtis Media is extending its reach in North Carolina by acquiring three Greensboro radio stations. Before you know it, we'll have one or two companies monopolizing all the radio news in the state. One of them run by a multi-millionaire who believes airing Rush Limbaugh serves the common good.
Sadly, the FCC, which is supposed to ensure that the public airwaves are used in the public interest, will do nothing to stop this gross consolidation of power.
Sorry Don, but this deal stinks to high heaven.
PS Be sure to click on the Curtis Media website, and notice the slogan under their logo. "Serving the Public Interest Since 1968." Maybe they should rewrite that slogan so it says: "We Used To Serve the Public Interest Back in 1968." That was probably true.