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The quantity and quality of radio broadcasting: are small markets underprovided?

  • Dennis Halcoussis
  • Anton Lowenberg

Small radio markets are characterized by less format variety and lower listening shares than larger markets. It is frequently argued that lack of format variety causes low listenership and that small markets consequently are underserved by commercial radio. However, if format variety is treated as endogenous, then the relatively low numbers of formats available in small markets might reflect underlying taste or lifestyle attributes rather than market failure. We argue that residents of smaller towns actually enjoy higher quality commercial broadcasts than their counterparts in large cities because radio stations in small markets play fewer commercials than big-city stations, ceteris paribus. To test this hypothesis we develop a measure of the average quantity of commercials played per station in each market area. Our findings confirm that listeners in small markets benefit from higher quality radio services than listeners in large markets, if high quality is defined as fewer commercial interruptions.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal International Journal of the Economics of Business.

Volume (Year): 10 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 347-357

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Handle: RePEc:taf:ijecbs:v:10:y:2003:i:3:p:347-357
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  1. Ekelund, Robert B, Jr & Ford, George S & Koutsky, Thomas, 2000. "Market Power in Radio Markets: An Empirical Analysis of Local and National Concentration," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 157-84, April.
  2. Robert Ekelund & George Ford & John Jackson, 1999. "Is Radio Advertising a Distinct Local Market? An Empirical Analysis," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 239-256, May.
  3. Steven T. Berry & Joel Waldfogel, 1997. "Public Radio in the United States: Does It Correct Market Failure or Cannibalize Commercial Stations?," NBER Working Papers 6057, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Simon P. Anderson & Stephen Coate, 2000. "Market Provision of Public Goods: The Case of Broadcasting," NBER Working Papers 7513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Steven Berry & Joel Waldfogel, 1996. "Free Entry and Social Inefficiency in Radio Broadcasting," NBER Working Papers 5528, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Craig L. LaMay & Burton A. Weisbrod, . "The Funding Perils of Public Broadcasting," IPR working papers 97-11, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  7. N. Gregory Mankiw & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Free Entry and Social Inefficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 48-58, Spring.
  8. Brunner, Eric J, 1998. " Free Riders or Easy Riders?: An Examination of the Voluntary Provision of Public Radio," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 97(4), pages 587-604, December.
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