Just when we thought we couldn't feel any more of a rush after our amazing Future of Music Policy Summit, we just got word that the Local Community Radio Act of 2009 has just passed out of a key House Subcommittee!
The Act would clear the way for hundreds more Low-Power FM (LPFM) stations in towns and cities across America. But what are these stations, and why are we so excited about having more of them?
LPFM is 100-watt non-commercial radio that can be broadcast at low cost to a small community area. FMC supports LPFM as an alternative to homogenized commercial radio, which has seen shrinking playlists and a loss of local focus over the past couple of decades. LPFM could also make broadcasting a real possibility for schools, labor unions, churches and non-profit groups. On the music side, these "microstations" would create an outlet for developing and local artists to get their music heard.
Today's Subcommittee vote represents a major victory for community radio advocates including FMC, Prometheus Radio Project, United Church of Christ and more. Yet there is still work to be done before new stations can begin serving local communities. "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 Mike Doyle (D-PA), lead co-sponsor of the bill with Congressman Lee Terry (R-NE).
On Tuesday, October 5, Congressman Doyle appeared alongside New Jersey songwriter/musician Nicole Atkins in a special conversation at the Future of Music Policy Summit at Georgetown University in Washington DC. The two discussed, among other policy matters, the importance of Low Power FM to arts and cultural communities. If you missed it, have no fear -- we'll have video archives available very soon.
In April 2009, Atkins joined Doyle at a Capitol Hill briefing on LPFM. "My hometown community station was the first station to play my music, which gave me confidence as an artist," she said at the event. "There's no longer any stations like that in my town, and LPFM would be a way to give other artists the same chance I had."
In June, FMC launched the I Support Community Radio campaign, which features established and emerging musicians talking about how local radio has positively impacted their lives, both as artists and listeners.
So you know, we're pretty into the whole quality local radio thing.
What an amazing week! Can we take that nap yet?