Low Power Limbo

We are two months into 2001 and halfway through the first FCC filing windows for new low power FM (LPFM) station licenses. The progress being made is slow and uncertain.

Two of the three filing windows that have opened and closed so far happened while Big Broadcasting was engaged in its overtime lobbying of Congress to kill the LPFM service. When that effort all but succeeded in December 2000, it put all of those LPFM applications filed – more than 1,000 in all – in jeopardy, as the rules governing the service shifted under the feet of the applicants, in some cases immediately disqualifying many of them.

Since LPFM’s evisceration, a third filing window has opened and closed – and another 500-plus LPFM applications have been submitted. In all, more than 1,700 applications for LPFM station licenses have been received by the FCC. Read More

New Year: Same Game

2001 will be a very interesting year for the U.S. microradio movement. It is enjoying more popularity than ever even though a recent legalization effort was severely curtailed.

Unfortunately the long and protracted battle for low power radio licenses has come to a dismal end: commercial broadcasters and National Public Radio brought their full weight to bear to quash a two-year grassroots effort to add more voices to the dial.

FCC Commissioner Michael Powell is the likely candidate to become FCC Chairman this summer; Michael is the son of Colin Powell, President-elect George W. Bush’s nominee for Secretary of State. Consider this: Shortly before the FCC approved the merger of AOL and Time Warner last year, Colin Powell moved much of his investments into AOL stock – and reaped a killing when the merger was approved by his son. Read More