WASHINGTON, February 26, 2009 - Members of Congress, public interest advocates and community organizations applauded the reintroduction of legislation to authorize a new wave of low power FM radio licenses during a Wednesday conference call organized by public advocacy group Free Press.
Supporters of the Local Community Radio Act say the bill would unleash the potential of low power FM radio to create jobs and serve diverse communities across the United States.
The LCRA would provide a mechanism for licensing approximately 3,000 low power community radio stations. Licensees would be limited to local governments and non-profit entities including educational, religious or labor organizations that serve specific audiences or small markets.
The Federal Communications Commission began to issue Low Power FM licenses in 2000 after an intense lobbying effort. But Congress later placed restrictions on the licenses at the behest of the National Association of Broadcasters, drastically limiting the power levels and spectrum available to LPFM stations.
The LCRA is sponsored by Reps. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., and Lee Terry, R-Neb. The bill would lift current restrictions and allow the FCC to begin issuing new licenses. The Doyle-Terry bill does not yet have a Senate companion.
"It is in everyone's interest to promote community radio," Doyle said. Doyle has been negotiating with colleagues to find co-sponsors and hasten the bill's passage. He said he was confident it would find bipartisan support in the House.
Low power FM stations "are a powerful tool to communicate with and connect people" in small communities, Terry said. He was not sure of a timetable for the bill's passage, but was confident it would clear the House easily. "I'm not sure when this bill will pass, but am sure it will," he said.
Cory Fischer-Hoffman of the Prometheus Radio Project, which won a protracted lawsuit against the FCC to block rules allowing newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership, said that "now is the time to clarify public interests" by localizing more media ownership. "As media outlets are increasingly consolidated, local voices are being forced off the airwaves," she said.
"It's time for Congress to remove the unfair restrictions that stand in the way of community organizations, religious groups, students and senior citizens getting their own LPFM stations," Fischer-Hoffman declared. LPFM will give communities access to local programming and important emergency information, she said. "Expanding LPFM is a concrete action that will provide this important service."
And the national financial crisis has fostered an environment conducive for community radio, said Shawn Campbell of the Chicago Independent Radio Project. "Two of Chicago's newspapers are in trouble," he noted. "Community radio might be our last best hope."
The Local Community Radio Act garnered wide support in the 110th Congress, with nearly 100 co-sponsors in the House. Both President (then senator) Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain., R-Ariz., his opponent in the 2008 election, co-sponsored a companion bill which cleared the Senate Commerce committee by unanimous consent, but did not receive a vote on the Senate floor.
- China Experts Advise Political Leaders to Tone Down Disputes, Cite Benefits of Bilateral Trade with China
- With or Without Negative Latency, Google Stadia Likely to Massively Churn Broadband Bandwidth
- Broadband Roundup: FCC Authorizes More Connect America Funding, NextLink Expands Coverage, Connected Nation in Ohio
- Questions of Public vs. Private Auction and Role of 5G Spectrum Dominate Conference on C-Band
- Ron Quirk: FCC Again Proposes to Enlarge Service Areas for Wireless Public Access Licenses
Signup for Broadband Breakfast
Intellectual Property3 months ago
In Congressional Oversight Hearing, Register of Copyrights Says Office Is Responding to Online Users
Broadband Data4 months ago
California Report: Income Most Significant Factor in Low Broadband Adoption
Broadband Data4 months ago
Pennsylvania Broadband Speeds Worse Than Previously Believed, According to State Report
Privacy and Security1 month ago
Comparing Privacy Policies for Wearable Fitness Trackers: Apple, Fitbit, Xiaomi and Under Armour
Antitrust1 month ago
Addressing the Impact of Big Data Upon Antitrust is More Complicated Than a Big Tech Breakup
Expert Opinion3 months ago
Geoff Mulligan: A ‘Dumb’ Way to Build Smart Cities
Antitrust1 month ago
Broadband Roundup: Everyone (Almost) Gangs Up on Google, Muni Broadband Fact Sheet, SHLB Anchornet Conference
Broadband Roundup2 months ago
Cable Industry Touts Energy Efficiency, Next Century Highlights Open Access Fiber, Aspen Forum Set