Advocates get behind new legislation supporting Low Powered FM Radio Stations06/25/07 Mitch E. Perry
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A bill was introduced in Congress last week to open up the local airwaves to more diverse, independent, Low Power FM radio stations. But the "Local Community Radio Act of 2007" (HR 2802) is being opposed by powerful lobbyists for radio conglomerates like the National Association of Broadcasters.
Pensylvania Democrat Mike Doyle is a co sponsor of the bill (roll tape#1 o.q.â€over the radioâ€)
In 2000, Congress authorized the FCC to issue Low Powered FM, or LPFM licenses. But they attached a provision that limited LPFM stations to rural areas. Since then, thousands who submitted applications with the FCC to operate their own stations have been blocked.
Again, Congressman Mike Doyle (roll tape#2 o.q.â€Across the countryâ€)
In 2003, the FCC released a study â€”which found that increasing the number of LPFM stations would not cause significant interference. The FCC urged Congress to repeal the restrictions it had placed on licensing LPFM stations. But no action has been taken. Yet.
Amy Ray is one half of the Indigo Girls. On a national conference call last Thursday, she said she thinks this legislation will help ALL radio stations, not just low powered ones (roll ltape#3 o.q.â€help keep it healthyâ€)
Hannah Sassaman is with Prometheus radio Project, a group that helps set up community radio stations. She says LPFM saves life ,and used as an example a station in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina hit (roll tape#4 o.q.â€with themâ€)
Nebraska GOP Congressman Lee Terry is the other main sponsor of the House bill.
When asked his thoughts on the legislation actually being passed, he acknowledged that its up to him and some of his colleagues to fully education other members of Congress about LPFM, and how its prescence on the radio dial does NOT harm other broadcasters (roll tape#5 o.q.â€optimistic about this billâ€)
Advocates say citizens can do their part to get this legislation passed is to call his or her local Congress member and urge them to support HR 2802.
The House bill has a companion in the Senate, sponsored by John McCain and Washington state Democrat Maria Cantwell. For more information you can go to expandlpfm.org