Cumulus Media: The difference of a State

Cumulus Media Inc.  is one of the largest radio broadcasting owner and operator of AM and FM radio stations, second only to Clear Channel Communications. Cumulus operates 570 radio stations in 110 cities and 34 states. They claim to serve over 65 million listeners. Cumulus, founded in 1997, is based out of Atlanta, Georgia.  In 2011 Cumulus bought Citadel Broadcasting after it filed for bankruptcy.  With this purchase Cumulus gained 225 radio stations.

Unlike its biggest competitor, Clear Channel Communications, Cumulus only owns terrestrial radio stations. Clear Channel has branched out to satellite radio stations on Sirius XM Radio. Many other broadcast corporations own an array of television stations and other forms of media.   Cumulus has chosen to integrate horizontally in the media market by focusing on operating  radio stations. (info & research)

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My map is simply showing the size and reach of Cumulus Media Inc. I was amazed at the amount of cities that Cumulus had radio stations in. All those cities and states are inhabited by a ton of different types of people.  From my perspective,  people who live in Flint, Michigan (Cumulus owns three stations there) have beliefs and values that are not similar to people in Eugene, Oregon (Cumulus owns six stations there).  (all stations owned by Cumulus Media Inc.) I realized this difference while I was in Sri Lanka over winter break. When people would ask me where I was from, I would always respond by saying “Colorado”.  In response to this I would get blank stares or polite (confused) smiles. I soon learned to say “America” (or Canada if I didn’t want to be ripped off!) because Colorado meant nothing to anyone outside of the US. To me “America” didn’t describe me at all! Telling people I’m from Colorado, or my home town of Snowmass Village immediately shows that I am a mountain girl, and that I’m ‘down to earth’ My home town says something about who I am, that “America” doesn’t. 

So how can this huge corporation cover all these different cities across our huge country of America? They must have different needs and wants from their radio stations and other media. Or has media become homogenous reel of information that is fead to everyone?  And is this a bad thing? Maybe with radio stations it doesn’t have that much of an effect. It is possible for a song that is popular in Flint to also be popular in Eugene. While politics change from place to place, entertainment can be universal.

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