Townsquare Media is the corporate entity that owns the license (Townsquare Media Trenton License, LLC) to operate radio station NJ 101.5 (FCC Facility 53458). The license is a for-profit monopoly granted by the Federal Communications Commission.
Townsquare Media is owned by Oaktree Capital Management. This corporation dates from the mid-1990's. Media sources note: "Oaktree quickly established a reputation in the high-yield and distressed-debt markets." The Securities & Exchange Commission fined Oaktree and ordered them to disgorge profits after the SEC ruled they had "sold securities short".
According to Oaktree Capital Management's filings with the Securities & Exchange Commission, it has important holdings in the petroleum sector, with one of its most important funds dependent on oil and gas profits from Alaska's North Slope. So yes, boys and girls, raising the price of gasoline is not in their economic self-interest.
The federal government grants for-profit corporations a monopoly on the use of a certain frequency provided that they abide by a very few rules and regulations. One is that they should at least try to be honest. The FCC website states:
"As public trustees, broadcasters may not intentionally distort the news. The FCC has stated publicly that 'rigging or slanting the news is a most heinous act against the public interest'."
What this means is that a radio station shouldn't out and out lie just to inflame public opinion in an effort to jazz up the ratings in order to sell more advertising and reap a windfall in corporate profits. But this is exactly what the corporation that owns NJ 101.5 has allowed Bill Spadea to do for months and allowed him to do again today.
Townsquare Media/Spadea has continued to use a report from the Reason Foundation that other journalists have investigated and called into question to make the case that road construction costs are "12 times the national average." They have continued to broadcast and publish this very dubious figure, knowing that for months a much more detailed and full study has been available to them and that they would have been doing their listeners (and readers) an educational service by citing the several conflicting studies that now exist on this subject.
The most detailed study made on the cost of road construction and maintenance in New Jersey was made by Rutgers University's Voorhees Transportation Center. Information on the study, as well as the study itself, can be accessed below:
Bill Spadea should pull himself away from selling vinyl siding, used cars, and suppositories longenough to hold a rational discussion regarding the comparative strengths and weaknesses of each study. While not trying to disparage the work of the author of the Reason Foundation study, who is known to us, his is a very different kind of effort to the one undertaken by Rutgers. The Reason Foundations does a cursory thumb-nail review, taking as much space to review 50 states as Rutgers does to review one. Rutgers is, by far, the more thorough effort.
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Last week, the SaveJersey blog featured a story by NJ 101.5's Bill Spadea, who has been trying to justify his position against funding the TTF. Aside from the ratings boost he's received, he is having an understandably tough time wrapping his intellect around the indefensible position that a user's tax is poor economic policy.
Spadea keeps looking for a way show that roads and bridges can be maintained and repaired in 2016 -- at the 1988 price-per-gallon of 14 1/2 cents. So he's come up with a list of things to cut and he published the list on SaveJersey.
The trouble is, Spadea's newest heroine, Senator Jennifer Beck, has blown a hole in his argument. Not only did Beck vote last month for over $100 million of the cuts Spadea wants to make this month, Beck's record shows that she supports NO spending cuts in any area of government and, IN FACT, supports increased spending. All you need to do is visit Project Vote Smart and look at the answers Senator Beck was kind enough to provide us, herself.
So much for Bill Spadea's plan to fund the TTF by cutting spending. Since Spadea started talking, all Senator Beck has done is to vote for more spending -- like the $7 million more for funding Planned Parenthood.
But Spadea doesn't appear to notice these incongruities. The talk radio host has already handed out the black hats and the white hats in his stage production of "a little masturbation ritual" -- and he doesn't want to reassign the "goodies" and the "baddies". Hey, stick to playing with your electric blue phallic symbol. Facts are too much for you.