Full Frame Close Up: Elevated Independence

Full Frame

In 1983, 90 percent of U.S. media was controlled by 50 corporations. Today, just six corporations control that 90 percent. The radio industry in particular has felt the impact of the changing media landscape in the United States. In 1995, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) – the independent government agency that regulates broadcast media in the United States – forbade companies from owning more than 40 radio stations. The following year, with the passing of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the 40 stations cap was lifted. The result? Media companies like Clear Channel (now iHeart Media) owned as many as 1,200 stations by 2012. Stations, small and large, decided to sell. But not all.

Among the 10 percent currently not controlled by those six corporations is an alternative rock station in the Green Mountains of Vermont. They go by 102.7, WEQX, The Real Alternative, or simply EQX. EQX has remained fiercely independent since their radio tower went up nearly 4,000 feet above sea level on Mt. Equinox in 1984. That tower transmits the equivalent of 50,000 watts reaching four states: Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

Local music has always been at the core of the station’s programming, helping to launch the careers of local bands that went on to “make it big” and being embraced by world-famous musicians. The band Phantogram, whose members hail from the small farm town of Greenwich, NY (about 30 miles from EQX), first hit the airwaves in 2010 on EQXposure, the station’s weekly show that highlights local artists. Phantogram is currently headlining musical festivals across the United States.

EQX is consistently voted the best radio station in the Albany, New York market, despite broadcasting from Manchester, Vermont and competing against stations owned by media giants like iHeart Media. Tune in to this week’s Full Frame Close Up to find out how EQX has achieved so much success while remaining independent.