The Straight Dope | Who owns the major U.S. media outlets?

I often hear that there are only five or six major corporations that control almost all of the U.S. media outlets, but I’ve never seen a list. When one thinks of AM and FM radio, network and cable television, the Internet as well as newspapers and magazines, can this really be true?

…You’re right that the mass media are basically a playground for big corporations, but there are way more than five or six. The online list maintained by the Columbia Journalism Review currently includes 45 firms, ranging from Viacom and Time Warner to outfits most people have never heard of–e.g. A.H. Belo, owner of the Dallas Morning News. Make no mistake, these companies are huge–Belo, for one, takes in $1.4 billion a year and owns or operates eight print outlets, 20 TV stations, and ten cable news channels. But 45 companies sharing the U.S. media pie is a lot different from slicing it up into just half a dozen pieces.

Here, in case you lost the link above, is Who Owns What, from the CJR. If the subject interests you, continue to’s Media Ownership Monitor and their 2001 Media Ownership Chart,’s report on Media Ownership and Deregulation, and The Nation’s late 2001 profile of the Big Ten media conglomerates.

It strikes me, though, that it shouldn’t be too surprising that the mass media are owned by large companies. Only a large company could maintain a national network in any medium. All businesses of national scope are large. It goes with the territory, doesn’t it?

I mean, would you watch “Uncle Vern’s National News”?