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.