Those in Favor

Philip Tymon’s been a busy man. He’s part of the National Lawyer’s Guild Committee on Democratic Communications, and he’s going through all of the comments filed so far during the FCC’s ongoing LPFM rulemaking machinations. While this list in no way is meant to be a complete overview of who’s saying what, it is a good snapshot in how the two sides are arguing their case. Next week, we’ll hear from the opposition.

I have summarized about 100 of the comments received by the FCC in the microradio proceeding. I believe there are about 150-160 total. While I went through them fairly randomly, I think I got more of the in favor than opposing. Therefore, when I post the complete summaries, there will probably be a lot more in opposition. I am posting a partial list for those who might want to start looking it over now. I have decided to group them by state.

(* preceding a name indicates one of about a dozen identical one-page comments submitted, apparently, by a Pentecostal organization.) Read More

Body Blows

It hasn’t been a good few weeks for microradio.

During the first days of June, the head of the FCC’s Compliance and Information Bureau, Richard Lee, made numerous postings to various free radio discussion areas on the Internet claiming that his department had a done a state-by-state audit of all free radio stations in operation. According to Mr. Lee, the number of stations operating nationwide is less than 200. Lee also said that the stations identified will be dealt with. His messages were met with curious silence.

In mid-month, apparently out of the blue, the California federal judge that granted Free Radio Berkeley a temporary injunction keeping the FCC at bay reversed her decision. Judge Claudia Wilken said that Free Radio Berkeley’s argument – that the FCC’s issuance and allocation of station licenses restricted free speech rights – didn’t hold water because FRB never attempted to get its own license. The FRB folks have promised to appeal. Read More

NABing the Airwaves

By Jennifer Barrios

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) held their annual conference this year in Las Vegas, and high on their agenda was what to do with those pesky microbroadcasters, or “pirates” as they like to call these crusaders of the airwaves. FCC officials turned out to this event en masse, for it is the NAB who really controls the FCC, not Congress. The FCC spent much time telling the NAB what they wanted to hear: that the FCC is on a single-minded mission to obliterate microbroadcasters from the airwaves and save the precious NAB corporate monopoly. FCC Chairman William Kennard, however, in an interesting comment, indicated that he was not averse to licensing small, micropower stations. “Let me be clear about one thing,” he admonished an old NAB broadcaster at the FCC Chairman’s Breakfast. “Let’s not confuse pirate radio with microbroadcasting.” Is this a sign of the FCC finally cracking, or simply another example of straddling the fence? Will the NAB’s monopoly over the airwaves finally be toppled? Read More

No More Mickey Mouse Microradio

Pete triDish is one of the driving forces behind West Philadelphia’s Radio Mutiny, and the founder of the Prometheus Radio Project. He’s got a very well-thought out way of thinking about the potential for legal low power radio. Read on:

There has been an ongoing debate in the micropower radio community as to whether or not a legalized micro-radio service should allow for locally owned, commercial stations. Advocates for allowing small-time businesses having stations raise a number of compelling arguments. One is that these small stations would be an excellent business opportunity for minority-owned stations which would serve markets that are currently ignored as a result of the artificially high hurdle to get involved in broadcasting. Indeed, we have already seen this in the example of a station like Hippolito Cuevas’s station in Connecticut – a station that was very quickly accepted by the Latino community, in a town where a fourth of the population is Latino and there is no Spanish language radio. Cuevas makes the argument that there would be no way for him to make his station work without some commercial revenues. He says that the commercials that he would take – for example, from local stores that could never afford the outrageous rates of regular stations – are in fact a form of community service. A growing number of entrepreneurs are becoming interested in this possibility, and the few hints that the FCC has dropped about what sort of proposal it might accept for a legalized micro service have mentioned minority entrepreneurship as a major factor. Read More

The Opposition is Getting Jumpy

The following is the text of a broadcast fax sent late last week to commercial stations nationwide. Radio Ink is one of the largest magazine publications in the broadcast industry.

*ALERT!*

AN URGENT ONE-TIME FAX FROM RADIO INK PUBLISHER ERIC RHOADS. APRIL 23, 1998

ATTENTION: Please forward to the highest ranking official in your station immediately.

Urgent! The FCC Is About To Screw Broadcasters Again.
We Need Your Help Before Friday April 24. Read More