Naked City

It's Catchier Than "BLANDFM"

For the past couple of months, Clear Channel Radio -- the nation's most massive radio conglomerate -- has been billing the Austin station it owns at 96.7FM as "KISSFM." Strange, considering the station's legal call letters are KHFI, not KISS. The real KISS-FM, owned by Cox Communications (which also owns the Austin American-Statesman), is located in San Antonio. But what's even stranger is that Clear Channel has named 36 other U.S. stations KISSFM(!).

"'KISSFM' is a format," says Clear Channel spokesperson Pam Brown of the station's Britney-and N'Sync-slanted music. "We own the slogan. 'KISSFM' is an owned format and slogan." Local Clear Channel General Manager Dusty Black explains that KHFI announces its legal call letters once an hour, as required by law. Meanwhile, Cox doesn't seem to care. Caroline Devine, general manager at the San Antonio KISSFM, says that since Clear Channel isn't using the name in San Antonio, "we have not entered into any legal issues."

"Naked City" kind of likes the multiple KISSFM concept, as it nicely illustrates how corporate conglomeration is homogenizing radio broadcasting across America.

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