LPFM Rematch on Capitol Hill

Four years ago, when the National Association of Broadcasters and National Public Radio successfully convinced Congress to significantly scale back the FCC’s new LPFM service, grassroots media activists weren’t packing much heat on the Hill.

It’s been a productive four years: 400+ LPFM stations are now on the air with more in the pipeline and dedicated lobbyists in Washington willing to push for an LPFM revival. Read More

McCain Moves on LPFM

On Friday Senator John McCain (R-AZ), along with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced a bill to restore the FCC’s original vision of LPFM. My favorite line from the text of the legislation (S. 2505) is, “After years and the expenditure of $2,193,343 in taxpayer dollars to conduct [a study on interference involving LPFM stations], the broadcasters’ concerns were demonstrated to be unsubstantiated.”

Now we shall see if it moves. Promises kept in word are one thing; deeds are quite different, especially in D.C.

Low Power Radio Legislation Afoot?

It appears there may be some movement in D.C. on some sort of legislation involving low power FM radio stations. It’s a curious thing: Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) plans to sponsor a bill to upgrade several old “Class D” FM educational stations.

The move stems from a controversy involving a high school whose 25-year old station might be bumped off the air by a commercial station who wants to move its transmitter to reach a larger audience.

While the FCC phased out Class D educational FM licenses in 1980, several dozen stations are still on the air. As part of the phase-out, they had to move out of the educational band of the FM dial (88.1-91.9 MHz). They also were endowed with “secondary” status: post-1980, if a commercial station wanted their frequency, the Class D station had to either find a new frequency or go off the air. Mercer Island High School’s station will probably have to shut down unless Sen. Cantwell’s legislation becomes law. Read More