Syracuse was front and center in the debate over media ownership on Capitol Hill on Thursday. Robert Short Jr, former owner of WRDS 102.1 FM, testified before congress that Clear Channel and Citadel forced him out of the Syracuse radio market. Charging that he had to sell WRDS to Galaxy Communications because Clear Channel owned over 50% of the local market and Citadel Communications had 25% of the revenue, Short claimed that Clear Channel was able to leverage its market dominance, flip WPHR 106.9 FM to an urban format and knock WRDS out of the game.According to Short, “After 5 1/2 years of being unable to compete from a revenue and operation standpoint, I was forced to sell. The Syracuse community lost an important source of diversity when WRDS was sold.”
Clear Channel’s CEO, Lowry Mays, fired back contending that after Short made “many millions of dollars,” the Urban listeners were disenfranchised because Galaxy changed the format. WRDS is now Sunny 102.1 (WZUN).