Calling the Bluff

There is now compelling evidence that the National Association of Broadcasters’ current lobbying effort for an outright ban on low power FM radio stations is based on corrupt and intentionally misleading scientific data. This includes information the NAB recently presented as testimony front of a Congressional subcommittee.

The NAB has fought long and hard against the FCC’s new low power FM ruling, spending millions of dollars to try and prevent the FCC from legalizing the service. It lost. Now it is trying the ultimate trump card by pulling the strings of Congress.

As part of a drive to get a “Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act” passed in both the House and Senate, it has been distributing a compact disc to members of Congress that claims to illustrate the interference low power FM stations would cause to full-power stations. Read More

Party Pirate Gets Broadside

On Friday, Tampa’s Party Pirate 102.1 received a double whammy from the FCC.

The day’s issue of the Federal Register included a terse announcement from the agency that Leslie “Doug” Brewer and his two-way radio business had been fined $10,000 for allegedly selling an “unauthorized FM radio transmitter” above the legal Part 15 power limit. According to the FCC, an undercover agent placed the order and made the purchase.

Also on March 3, Doug Brewer found out that a Federal court ruled in favor of the FCC in its seizure of two-way radio equipment stemming from the November 1997 raid of his station. The government gets to keep thousands of dollars worth of equipment not remotely related to FM piracy as “spoils” from their military-style raid on his home. Read More

Asking for More

It seemed like a huge victory for those fighting for access to the airwaves when the FCC decided on January 20 to re-legalize low power radio in the United States.

The celebration was short-lived, however, when the details of the plan were laid bare. In addition, those who fought the idea all along have redoubled their efforts to kill the new LPFM service with legal and legislative pressures and a burgeoning propaganda campaign.

In the midst of the largest firestorm low power radio’s ever experienced, the Amherst Alliance has petitioned the FCC to take a second look at LPFM – officially filing a Motion For Reconsideration over the newly-created regulations. Read More

Propaganda

If you were holding out hope hope for seeing a legal and viable LPFM service, let go.

Regardless of the flaws in the plan, like the restrictive ownership qualifications and interference standards (which effectively cut out the majority of the American listening public from any new stations), the chances of actually seeing the service flourish are dimming quickly.

On top of a massive lobbying and legal campaign, the attack on LPFM is expanding. Legislation and lawsuits should not be our biggest concern anymore, because now broadcasters are preparing to use their stations – on our airwaves – to kill LPFM. Read More

Multiple Threats

As groups get organized and prepare to apply for an LPFM license when the first opportunities come around in May, opposition to the new service is growing and attacking from multiple directions.

There are three threats which pose significant immediate danger to the new LPFM service. Each one is unique, and each one could shut the service down before it even starts.

The first threat is Congress. Rep. Mike Oxley’s (R-OH) “Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act of 1999” continues to draw more co-sponsors; it’s very likely that by the end of February, anti-LPFM forces will have mustered over half the votes they need to get the bill through the House of Representatives. Read More