"Radio consolidation has contributed to a 34% decline in the number of owners, a 90% rise in the cost of advertising rates, [and] a rise in indecent broadcasts.  If ever there were a cautionary tale, this is it."
                                           Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings D- South Carolina


Read excerpts from the forthcoming book, "Passing Thru"
KABC - The Shrine of Talk Radio"
"WLS Bound"

Gang Raped"
"Friends. When It's All Said and Done"

"Happy Birthday, Bob Hope"

"Don't Forget Me
(Eddie Cochran)"
"In Like Flynn"
"A Slice of Pie"
"Burt Lancaster"
"WLS-Art Roberts"
"The Presidents"

Reader - SOUND OFF
(click here to view reader'scomments)

In 1971, Superjock Larry Lujack described John Rook as "the greatest program director of our time or any other time."  In a 2001 R&R article, former ABC executive Bob Henabery is quoted as saying that "Rook understood the importance of doing everything right. He was a masterful Top 40 programmer."

            Rook's Radiography

Republicans Are Adding Weight to Reversal of F.C.C. Media Rule

July 23, 2023

WASHINGTON, July 22 - Until recent days, the nation's largest media conglomerates had hoped that the House of Representatives would kill the growing political efforts to
overturn their recent deregulation.
� 2003 NY Times

The FCC, that agency intended to promote widespread local ownership of broadcasting facilities and equal-time opportunities on the nation's airwaves, has caved in completely to a handful of wealthy monopolists.

What gives?

 And when is the public going to say "Enough!"?

by Jim Wright, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives


Localism's Last Stand
by William Safire

This growing grass-roots grumbling against giantism is getting through to legislators ordinarily cowed by network-owned station managers or wowed by big-media campaign contributions. Some in-house pollster should awaken President Bush to a bipartisan sleeper issue that could blindside him next year (read)


(July 14, 2023 12:01am) According to a new research poll released today, more Americans are aware of the FCC's decision to loosen media ownership restrictions, and even more believe it will have a negative impact on the country. The Pew Research Center says that Nearly half of Americans (48%) say they have heard a lot (12%) or a little (36%) about the issue. In February, only about a quarter of the public (26%) knew even a little about the plan. People who are most familiar with the FCC plan have an overwhelmingly negative opinion of it. By roughly ten-to-one (70%-6%), those who have heard a lot about the rules change say its impact will be negative, not positive ...more on the study here...

SCANDALS & Scoundrels

Again, FCC chairman Michael Powell refuses to answer questions about a new scandal uncovered by the Center for Public Integrity.

The FCC's Strange Non-Profit 
Powell runs venture capital firm that claims it's private.

Read how he controls funds from those he is expected to regulate.  Outrageous!
(click to read)

All of the latest news concerning Media Monopolization (read)

Rook's Daily Clicks
Radio Daily News

Radio Ink
LA Radio
Radio & Records

John's Archives of Commentaries ...

Payola illegal, except for FCC chairman Michael Powell (read)

"Rush is full of _ _ _ _ " (read)

A measure introduced by U.S. Sen. John McCain bans industry-sponsored travel by FCC commissioners and staff, according to a statement from the senator�s office. Five years ago we began providing documentation to both Senators MCain and Hollings, showing this terrible conflict of interest not only from FCC staff, but with most elected officials. It wasn't until the Center for Public Integrity got involved with this issue that it finally begin to receive the attention needed (read)

Clear Channelized

This (FCC) chairman, known for his inability to work with and/or get along with others, continues to blame everyone else for his own shortcomings. His apple falls far from the tree of his seemly diplomatic father. Powell 2 is a lightweight who could never have been considered for a big paying government job at the Department of Justice or the Federal Communications Commission were it not for affirmative action. He has no appreciation of those who don't march to the beat of his drum. Damn!  They were right! (read)

Ted Turner jumps ship, warns against FCC deregulation (read) 

Former President Bill Clinton: The FCC also opened the door to local TV-newspaper mergers in many places, so you'll be getting your news and information from the same company regardless of whether you're turning on the TV or opening the newspaper. Why is this bad? (read)

John Nichols and Josh Silver: The Federal Communications Commission voted 3 to 2 to meet the demands of big communications corporations. Rigorously opposed by consumer, religious, labor, community and public interest groups across the country, FCC Chairman Michael Powell warped the decision-making process to deliver a result allowing conglomerates to buy up hundreds of newspapers, television and radio stations in communities across the United States. Competition, diversity and local content will be undermined in local markets and nationally. The FCC's decision was the product of a corrupt process that was awash in special-interest money, and that saw industries that are supposed to be regulated telling the regulators how to proceed (read) 

Contact Links
e-mail FCC Commissioners
e-mail U.S. House Members
e-mail U.S. Senate Members
Complaints - On line to the FCC


My late good friend Bill Gavin was a man of great ethics not given to retreat when faced with opposition.  Recognizing my own steps of going against the flow, he cautioned me to be prepared for a chorus of dissention, but that time usually proves one�s point.   

So more than ten years ago when I became outspoken on the pitfalls of radio�s deregulation, my thoughts returned to Gavin�s wisdom, without which I could not have continued the battle.  His words, �Time will prove you right� kept echoing each time I felt like the lone ranger on a horse going nowhere.    

The arrogance of the broadcast bigwigs stuck in my crawl. When I threatened going to the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission I was actually taunted with, �there is no FCC, there is no DOJ, you idiot�.  It was especially difficult when I discovered they were correct.  Both the Department of Justice and the FCC excused my complaints and volumes of evidence advising me I was going against the flow.  Deregulation was in vogue and anyone unable to march in lock step, was dismissed as a trouble maker by both the chieftains of the industry, the NAB and the very agencies in charge of guarding against such abuses. Gone was the blood of true broadcasters, replaced instead by those who valued dollars over common sense.    

It became obvious to me more than ever our society must have laws and regulations with teeth or the greed of man would prevail over ethics and decency. Imagine the highways without guidelines for motorists and no police to enforce them. 

Ken Palmer - Janet Gavin - John Rook - Bill Gavin
(Las Vegas Gavin convention, 1968)

My own elected officials, senators and congressmen, who previously hung out in my station's lobby, begging for free air time, disappeared, intimidated by the power of the new media monopolies. Most trade publications refused to question the damage being done for fear of being blackballed by a flood of subscription cancellations from the very companies enjoying their lack of attention.  

Only in recent weeks have the words of Bill Gavin returned to remind me the importance of what time delivers. While the media giants hoped the public would sleep through their grab of even more power, almost overnight they have realized their payoffs to public officials have met their matches.  

The public is speaking and those in our nation�s capital are listening.  Let�s hope the White House hears the thunder of dissent to their desire of further deregulating the media.   

Thank you Bill, for those words of long ago.  I hear them � LOUD AND CLEAR!




Reader - SOUND-OFF


Thanks for your hard work and diligence, John.
God Bless Bill & Janet
Gavin would contribute an important perspective of the media monopolies of today.
I think his wisdom would tell us "caution" in the least. Perhaps he's doing that
through you John.


The FCC chairman Michael Powell was given his throne by Bill Clinton. It shouldn't be that hard for President Bush to sweep his ilk from office.

You say in your KABC chapter that Morton Downey Jr. was the first of the "shock jocks?" Don't tell me his outrageous TV fiasco was on radio first?
After forty years in broadcasting, I retired last year.  No room for anyone except sales people anymore.  And what do they have to sell? Howard Stern, Opey & Anthony and an animal named Savage.  Good luck!


Mr. Rook:

You are such a gem! I love reading your recollections and, I hope you know, I've always had the utmost respect for your contributions. I thought it was kind of an interesting juxtaposition on your work at WABC during the strike many years ago (helping the corporation) and your pronounced position now against massive consolidation that is considered by today's executives to be anti-company.  Do you think it's because the business of broadcasters has fewer real broadcasters and that 30+ years ago the landscape in radio was somewhat different? I guess it's the difference between being a member of a collective rather than hoarding everything for yourself. The absolutely amazing thing is that 3/5ths of the guardians of the public trust at the FCC don't know what "public trust" means. Or maybe they just don't care. I'm glad you do.

 I am 35 years into the Radio biz, and follow your brilliant comments on the state of radio with relish. Keep hammering these crooks that run Clear Channel and Viacom - because you speak for the hearts and minds of not just US radio people, but broadcasters around the globe. I am VERY concerned that the American public seems to have been lulled to sleep on the consolidation issue and the blatant corruption at the F.C.C. Bad news - it is not much better in Canada, Mr. Rook. Politicos get the "donations", and surprise, the same backers get to play fast and loose with their pack of stations....granted by the rubber stamp CRTC. In our country, FM'ers are averaging 24 % year over year profit- and screwing staff and public alike. Keep the faith.

** ......the two most abundant elements in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity......**
Re: We are waiting Mr. President
I sincerely doubt Dubya will step up to the plate.  You have to have integrity yourself to right a wrong.
Re: Rush is full of . . . .
Thanks John,
I had the displeasure of working with him briefly in 1976,he was full of shit then and
is now, but on a grander scale.
Rush is confused with the facts.  That's how it's done today except that it's bought and paid for in advance.
It's hard for me to believe Rush, would even say something like this. Everybody who was in the music radio business in those days, knew that Top 40 was a "bottoms up" clear for music. Hell, the biggest complaint was that listening to those 2 huge signals at night, was that all you were playing was music we'd already dropped in the medium markets, because we had added them so far in front of LS and ABC. At any rate, maybe this wasn't something Rush knew in Mckeesport.
I have always been a fan of 'el-rush-bo. After hearing his rants lately about deregulation, yes indeed you are correct sir, we know who butters his bread. I always believed his line of bullshit that he was 99.9% correct. NO MORE.
  I just read the piece on WLS and Art Roberts on your website. I started
in radio as a sophomore in high school in 1969 and had already spent several years
as a loyal Art Roberts listener in Iowa. I was glad but not surprised to read
your opinion of him as a person and a talent because it so exactly matches
what I've always thought. I've always remembered that Art spoke one-on-one
with listeners. Also that he made a commercial a pleasant, helpful, even newsy
conversation rather than a "spot". It's the way we were always told to do it in those
non-voicetrack days. I don't know how successfully I applied the concept but whatever
success I had, I owed to  those nights listening to Art on WLS.




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The opinions, commentary and satirical material posted on JohnRook.com are those of John Rook, unless otherwise identified