Senate Moves to Kill

Congress is back “at work” in Washington, and the radio broadcast lobby has intensified its effort to kill the FCC’s new low power FM (LPFM) proposal through legislation.

It’s been nearly a half-year since the National Association of Broadcasters, conspiring with National Public Radio and others, convinced the House of Representatives to pass a bill drastically gutting the LPFM plan.

Since then, getting action in the Senate has been less successful. The original bill the NAB’s Senate puppets introduced, S. 2068, lost steam after gathering 36 cosponsors. Read More

On the Cusp

As often happens in Washington, there’s a flurry of activity on an issue – then it drops from the spotlight for a while. Such has been the case with low power radio.

Ever since Arizona Senator John McCain threw up a Congressional roadblock on the greased rails that the National Association of Broadcasters had built for a bill to ban the FCC’s re-legalization of low power FM stations, activity on Capitol Hill has dropped off.

Originally, many “inside the Beltway” felt that McCain’s introduction of a separate LPFM bill – allowing the FCC’s plan to continue yet opening up the new stations to huge lawsuits from commercial broadcasters, – was just a holding action designed to drain off the NAB’s lobbying momentum. Read More

The McCain Mystery

On May 30, the FCC will begin taking applications for the first new low power FM radio licenses to be issued since the agency initially banned them more than 30 years ago. Would-be broadcasters in 11 states and the Mariana Islands will get first crack at the 100-watt LPFM licenses; the first station could go on the air as early as August.

Yet a battle rages in Congress to kill the service before it even gets off the ground. So far, 34 Senators have signed onto anti-LPFM legislation that the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved (with some changes) in mid-April.

But the broadcast lobby’s momentum appears to be slowing. It only takes 51 votes to pass a bill in the Senate (compared to 218 needed in the House) and the number of Senators committed to the bill stalled at around 30 for nearly a month. Read More