Halfway Dead

It was an often-lively debate, but at the end you weren’t sure whether to laugh or seethe.

After nearly two and a half hours of argument, spin and even some outright lies, the full House of Representatives voted 274 to 110 to approve the “Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act” – spelling the first near-death knell for the FCC’s new low power FM radio service.

While the vote in favor of the bill was carried mostly by Republican votes, the sad truth of the matter is that if it weren’t for the Democrats who said “yea,” this bill would have died. Plus, another 50 Representatives didn’t even bother to vote on it! Read More

Calling the Bluff

There is now compelling evidence that the National Association of Broadcasters’ current lobbying effort for an outright ban on low power FM radio stations is based on corrupt and intentionally misleading scientific data. This includes information the NAB recently presented as testimony front of a Congressional subcommittee.

The NAB has fought long and hard against the FCC’s new low power FM ruling, spending millions of dollars to try and prevent the FCC from legalizing the service. It lost. Now it is trying the ultimate trump card by pulling the strings of Congress.

As part of a drive to get a “Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act” passed in both the House and Senate, it has been distributing a compact disc to members of Congress that claims to illustrate the interference low power FM stations would cause to full-power stations. Read More

Propaganda

If you were holding out hope hope for seeing a legal and viable LPFM service, let go.

Regardless of the flaws in the plan, like the restrictive ownership qualifications and interference standards (which effectively cut out the majority of the American listening public from any new stations), the chances of actually seeing the service flourish are dimming quickly.

On top of a massive lobbying and legal campaign, the attack on LPFM is expanding. Legislation and lawsuits should not be our biggest concern anymore, because now broadcasters are preparing to use their stations – on our airwaves – to kill LPFM. Read More

Multiple Threats

As groups get organized and prepare to apply for an LPFM license when the first opportunities come around in May, opposition to the new service is growing and attacking from multiple directions.

There are three threats which pose significant immediate danger to the new LPFM service. Each one is unique, and each one could shut the service down before it even starts.

The first threat is Congress. Rep. Mike Oxley’s (R-OH) “Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act of 1999” continues to draw more co-sponsors; it’s very likely that by the end of February, anti-LPFM forces will have mustered over half the votes they need to get the bill through the House of Representatives. Read More

All’s Not Well

On the heels of the FCC’s vote to create a low power radio service, advocates of LPFM – who’ve fought long and hard for more than a year on the issue – are celebrating. It’s a well-deserved morale boost, but by no means does the FCC’s action victory.

The war over LPFM is a multi-front battle, and while advocates have made substantial gains in front of the FCC, more dangerous fronts still remain.

The Federal Communications Commission, like any other government agency, operates at the whim of Congress. It is Congress who sets the FCC’s funding level, and it’s Congress who tells the FCC what to do by crafting the laws that imbue the agency with its power. Read More