Local Community Radio Act Sweeps House Subcommittee in 15 to 1 vote
Thursday, 08 October 2009
The Local Community Radio Act was passed out of the House Subcommittee on
Communications, Technology and the Internet this morning in a sweeping 15
to 1 vote. The Act would allow for the creation of hundreds of new, low
power FM (LPFM) radio stations that would broadcast community news and
local perspectives to neighborhoods across the country.
"All I can say is, it's about time," said Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), a
co-sponsor of the bill. "It was absurd and ridiculous that broadcasters
went to such great lengths to block the public from having some small
measure of access to the airwaves, and disgraceful that we had to spend
more two million dollars to prove what the FCC already had shownthat LPFM
would not interfere with full power stations."
Big broadcasters have historically opposed the Local Community Radio Act,
claiming that LPFM could cause interference to full power stations, a
concern later disproven by a Congressionally mandated study. But with
unanimous FCC support, strong bipartisan co-sponsorship, and grassroots
momentum, even industry news is now predicting a win. "We do not expect
that there is any stopping it at this point," the Radio Business Report
commented this morning.
"The bill still has a long way to go in the legislative process, but I am
optimistic that by the end of the year the Local Community Radio Act will
be signed into law," said Congressman Doyle (D-PA), lead co-sponsor of the
bill with Congressman Lee Terry (R-NE).
The bill gained the support of former doubters of LPFM, including Rep.
Cliff Stearns (R-FL), a former lead co-sponsor of anti-LPFM legislation
and ranking Republican on the subcommittee, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), the
only former broadcaster in Congress, and Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), who
called for the study of LPFM interference in 2000.
"Today's vote signals a policy shift towards more local and diverse
media," said Cory Fischer-Hoffman, Campaign Director for the Prometheus
Radio Project. "We need to use this momentum to push for full passage of
the Local Community Radio Act so groups working tirelessly to have a voice
in their communities can start building stations."
Hundreds of groupsincluding schools, churches, and emergency
responderswere denied licenses in 2000 after Congress blocked the FCC
from handing them out in crowded media markets.
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