Corporate Control of Madison Media

By Mary Croy

We have all seen the biased coverage of BLM protests and other important issues by the mainstream media here in “progressive” Madison. The media, as in other parts of the country, has become concentrated in the hands of a few corporations, which spend most of their time celebrating capitalism and fear-mongering about movements which challenge the rule of the one percent.

Media OutletOwning Corporation
Capital TimesCapital Newspapers (co-owned by Capital Times Company and Lee Enterprises)
Wisconsin State JournalCapital Newspapers (co-owned by Capital Times Company and Lee Enterprises)
Madison.comCapital Newspapers (co-owned by Capital Times Company and Lee Enterprises)
NBC 15Gray Media Group
WISC-TV/Channel 3000Television Wisconsin (Morgan Murphy Media)
Madison MagazineTelevision Wisconsin (Morgan Murphy Media)
Fox 47Sinclair Broadcast Group
WKOW 27Quincy Media (to be divested by by Gray Media Group, which is acquiring Quincy Media)
1310 WIBA RadioiHeartMedia

In addition to the two major newspapers in Madison, Capital Newspapers owns 15 other newspapers throughout Wisconsin in places such as Reedsburg, Portage, Baraboo, and Shawano.

Sinclair, which owns Fox 47, has a notorious right wing bent, owns 191 television stations, and is worth an estimated 4.2 billion dollars. For example, take a look at the “Sinclair Supercut,” which derided one-sided journalism on social media through a scripted message read on all Sinclair stations. This message echoed the anti-media propaganda being pushed by then-president Donald Trump.

Quincy Media, parent company of WKOW 27, is “family owned” and has 21 television stations throughout the Midwest and Arizona. Gray also gobbled up Quincy for $925 million early this year. Gray Television which owns NBC 15, has 93 markets throughout the country, with assets of over 4.2 billion. The CEO is Hilton Howell, Jr.

Both Wisconsin 3000 TV and Madison Magazine are owned by Television Wisconsin, which in turn is owned by Morgan Murphy Media. This “family owned” media company has tv stations in six markets and 11 radio stations. But this is small potatoes compared to iHeartMedia, Inc., which owns WIBA. iHeartMedia has over 860 radio stations in 153 markets across the country (including 10 stations in Madison alone). With a gross income of over two billion, iHeart dominates radio throughout the U.S.

It is clear that this concentration of media is homogenizing the news and is preventing all but a narrow range of views from reaching the public. Any serious critique of capitalism is ignored, and the same stale narratives are pushed year after year. We see it here in Madison when protests are framed as “riots” and everyday issues such as housing insecurity and police violence are ignored. Capitalism and its dysfunction are not ever questioned.  We need to break the control of corporate media and have community based media which reflects a wide range of voices.

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