Breaking up the radio monopoly? That sounds good.

I saw this article earlier today and it made me stop for a second:

Submitted by jonathan on Sat, 2010-12-18 15:21

With the clock ticking toward the end of this year’s Congress, the Senate on Saturday passed a new law which will enable community groups, churches and schools across the country to establish new non-commercial, low-power FM radio stations in their cities and towns.

The Local Community Radio Act, which will allow the FCC to issue possibly thousands of new noncommercial LPFM radio licenses, earned broad, bipartisan support after some ten years of organizing by grassroots media democracy advocates from coast to coast. Backers of the bill included a stupefying range of civil rights groups, religious organizations, musicians, unions and garage-bound radio dreamers around the country.

Washington State elected officials played a pivotal role in passing the bill into law; Senator Maria Cantwell championed the bill in the Senate, and House cosponsors included Washington Rep. Jay Inslee.

“This is a huge win for communities across the northwest and across the country who have been pining for more and better local radio, more support for local music and more diversity on the airwaves,” said Jonathan Lawson of Reclaim the Media, a Seattle-based media justice organization which has worked alongside many other advocacy groups since 2002 to expand community access to media, including LPFM. “Senator Cantwell deserves our thanks for seeing this through to the end.”

The FCC initially created the Low power FM service radio in 2002, as a way to counter the dramatic consolidation of radio ownership which followed the 1996 Telecommunications Act, and the resulting drop in diverse programming and local voices. However, pressure from commercial broadcasters quickly led Congress to impose substantial barriers to LPFM, so that only a relatively small number of stations were able to launch, and mostly in rural areas.

The new law removes most of those barriers, creating the opportunity for many more stations to occupy unused space on the FM dial. LPFM stations are noncommercial, must be operated by a local nonprofit, religious organization or public institution, and are limited to 100 watts.

Northwest groups who have been able to build and launch LPFM stations have demonstrated the tremendous utility and power of low-power radio. In Woodburn, Oregon, KPCN allows immigrant farmworkers to share news, information and music in Spanish and several other Latin American languages. Spokane’s Thin Air Radio and Idaho’s Radio Free Moscow provide those communities with local public affairs and homegrown music programs—while providing new broadcasters with a place to learn the tools of the trade.

The new law is a landmark achievement for public interest media advocates who have been working on this bill for years. Galvanized by the trailblazing work of the Prometheus Radio Project and the Media Access Project, a host of other groups deserve credit for helping wage the struggle for LPFM: the Future of Music Coalition, Media Alliance, Reclaim the Media, the Chicago Independent Radio Project, Free Press, United Church of Christ Office of Communication, Inc, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Media and Democracy Coalition, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the Benton Foundation and many others.

This is where radio is going. People are tired of radio being monopolized by a few voices.  Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck across the country is slowly coming to an end.  And those who think they can ride that train will find that AM radio is almost dead.  Give it 5 years and it is dead.

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6 responses to “Breaking up the radio monopoly? That sounds good.

  1. So who is going to pay for these non commercial stations? I have no problems with free interprize as long as my tax dollars are not used to keep them in business. By the way radio has been dying out for a while now due to internet radio.

    • You don’t quite get how radio works, do you?

      The airwaves belong to all of us. The government issues licenses. Radio stations pay the licensing fee.

      Your tax dollars are not involved except for the employees who are paid to take care of this kind of shit.

      • Well yes I do understand how it works. Most radio stations stay in business via their listeners and buy the commercials dollars they bring in. Unless a non commercial station is going to be 100% supported by donations then where will their financing come from?

  2. Hmmmm …. I wonder how much for a licensing fee? … hmmmmm

  3. ha ha … I was just imagining something like Radio Free River Oaks …

  4. More controlled crap from politicians who do not like art or music, and sold out to large corporations. Notice commercial radio, which plays the same song and is cloned from state to state is hated by millions of people. And now only religious and public insitutions get the freedom to develop radio. The government is a fricking racket, completely comparable to fascist regimes which have popped up throughout centuries, they enforce the use censorship, its a subtle form of silencing people. If they tell you what they are doing you would not like it. And what about a separation between church and state? Bush and Clinton both want money appropriated in one direction, and the way to control that resource is to consolidate and direct. They should be locked up for treason and conspiring against the American people. All of these right wing nut cases…and old conspirators alike.

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