WXRT is one of the last pioneering commercial FM rock radio stations left, still known for playing new artists and keeping a relatively eclectic playlist. However, the Chicago Tribune reports that is changing, seen most clearly in the dismissal of DJ Johnny Mars, who was responsible for introducing many cutting edge artists to the airwaves over the years.
The station was bought (for $77 million!) by Infinity communications not long after the Telecom Act of 1996 loosened ownership restrictions for radio. The second article in Salon’s excellent series on media consolidation examines the impact of the Telecom Act on radio, noting that the loosened ownership restrictions on radio that triggered the massive consolidation of the radio industry into the hands of just a few major players were added to the Act largely as an afterthought, with little or no consideration or debate by Congress.