Moment of Truth

Events taking place in Washington over the next month will determine the fate of the low power radio legalization effort in America.

The FCC approved the new LPFM service in January, and began taking applications for new stations this summer. However, when Congress tentatively approved legislation to severely curtail the new rules, the FCC effectively put all LPFM work on hold, and has temporarily suspended the next application filing window, which was to be opened this week.

The forces fighting for and against low power radio are both gearing up for this final faceoff. The commercial broadcast interests, fueled by deep pockets and close connections on Capitol Hill, are making a final lobbying push to get Congress to kill LPFM through its federal budget approval process. If that doesn’t work, Plan B involves a court challenge to the FCC’s new rules. Read More

Overtime

Watching Congress move to quash the FCC’s new low power FM (LPFM) radio service has been much like watching a train bear down on an unfortunate damsel tied to the tracks.

You knew it was gonna happen, and you knew it would be a nasty sight, but you couldn’t help watching.

And so it happened. On Thursday, the House of Representatives approved a budget bill to fund the Federal Commerce, Justice and State Departments (by an eight vote margin). The U.S. Senate shortly followed suit.

In addition to doling out money to the three government agencies, the bill also contains completely unrelated items, like those restricting the Justice Department from pursuing lawsuits against the tobacco industry and significantly altering immigration laws.

This bill also contains “rider legislation” that will significantly reduce the FCC’s new low power FM radio program. Read More

Inside the Smoke-Filled Room

November’s elections are just around the corner, and as the hype on the campaign trail intensifies, Congress is still “at work” in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Senate is hammering out the federal budget; it approves it in pieces, as separate spending bills that lay out just how much each federal government agency gets to spend over the next fiscal year.

Unfortunately, budget bills not only get loaded down with “pork” (extraneous money seen as gifts Congressfolk get for their specific states or districts), they’re also notorious vehicles for politicians to ram laws through Congress that wouldn’t survive the normal approval procedure (like committee meetings, public hearings, etc.). Read More