Tomorrow (November 18) at 10 AM, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will vote on the Local Community Radio Act of 2009 (S 592) -- a bill that would allow for the creation of hundreds more Low Power FM (LPFM) stations in towns and cities across the country. We're glad that the Senate has taken up the legislation, as it has already made it through two key House committees and looks to pass out of the full House very soon.
Low Power FM stations are 100-watt "micro-broadcasters" that have a range of about 5-7 miles. In today's super-consolidated commercial radio market, these small stations can go a long way towards giving people in local communities a voice on the public airwaves. From civic debate to public safety, LPFMs provide an important platform for a range of community-oriented programming. And they're great for local and independent musicians who probably have little chance -- no matter how talented they might be -- of getting played on their neighborhood commercial station.
As this legislation has made its way through Congress, it's been amazing to see musicians like Indigo Girls, Nicole Atkins, Vijay Iyer, Erin McKeown, Saul Williams and more talk about the need for quality local radio. You can check out a slew of video testimonials from these artists and more at our I Support Community Radio page.
We're feeling good about the chances of expanding community radio through passage of the Local Community Radio Act, and we're glad that the FCC has stood by its original plan to license LPFMs in more American towns and cities (once the bill is passed). We'll be watching developments closely, so stay tuned.