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"This merger cannot be fully evaluated without considering the more general trend towards consolidation in the media/ entertainment industry that is now clearly underway."
—Senators DeWine and Cole
HOLD THAT MERGER!
Clear Channel SFX Deal Gets Thumbs-Down From Senators
About that Clear Channel/SFX deal... Who you gonna call? Trustbusters!!

In a letter to FCC Chairman William Kennard and Asst. Attorney General for Antitrust Joel Klein, Senators Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Herb Kohl (D-WI) urged the Feds to take a close look at Clear Channel’s proposed acquisition of SFX Entertainment. The Senators, their parties’ leaders in the Senate antitrust subcommittee, asserted that a combo comprising the nation’s biggest radio company and the powerful concert promoter “would have the potential to use its radio stations to favor performers associated with its concert promoters, or playing at its own venues, while withholding airplay from others.”Well, dunh, wasn't that the point?

DeWine and Kohl see the deal as yet another example of a pervasive problem: “This merger cannot be fully evaluated without considering the more general trend towards consolidation in the media/entertainment industry that is now clearly underway,” they wrote. “Competition in this industry is central to ensuring that a diversity of voices continue to flourish in our media and culture.” Tell that to the gang over at Time-Warner, AOL and EMI, why doncha?

Good point, well-made. But the FCC has no jurisdiction in the matter, because SFX isn’t in the radio or TV business. It’s expected the deal will be approved by the Department of Justice.

As the Senators issued their complaint about today’s rich-get-richer business sector, SFX announced that it will be moving into expensive new digs, namely the Candler Tower in Times Square, this fall. The company has signed a 20-year lease on the historic 42nd St. property, built 88 years ago by Coca-Cola founder Asa Griggs and located right across the street from the SFX-owned Ford Theater.

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