Is American radio getting more homogenous, or is it just my perception?

Even as it’s getting easier to listen to more varied kinds of music via the Internet and other places, I feel lately like the range of radio listening choices in my metro area is getting more and more boring. This story in today’s Chicago Tribune seems to concur (you’ll probably need to register to read the link).

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-0205230238may23.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed

In the past few years, the area has also lost one of its 2 classical music stations, and with a couple of notable exceptions (WLUW at 88.7 FM being one of them), most of the remainder sounds amazingly similar. Even the Spanish-language stations play mostly Mexican and some pan-Latino pop Velveeta stuff, with barely a stab at the Caribbean and the rest of Latin America (where’s my merengue?!).

I know I have rather eclectic musical tastes, but why don’t we get exposed to 99.9% of what’s going on in the music world? It’s out there, and I’d probably even buy more music on CD if I could sample it first…so what do y’all think of this phenomenon?

You are not imagining things. Radio stations are usually owned by large companies that are constantly buying ever more stations. I recall reading that something like 10-15 companies own 50% of the stations nationwide (don’t recall the exact numbers), and I’m sure that’s only gone up in the year or two since I read it. These stations then make sure every last trace of originality and uniqueness is homogenzied out of existence. They are then free to play N’sync, Britney, Pink, Backstreet Boys and other such crap 24-7.