Tomorrow (Tuesday, Dec. 15) is another significant day for Low Power FM. We're happy to report that the Local Community Radio Act of 2009 is slated for a floor vote in the House of Representatives — the furthest any pro-LPFM legislation has gotten in years. The fact that we're now on the eve of a vote that would bring true local radio to more American towns and cities is a testament to the tireless support of community radio advocates across the country. We're especially proud of the efforts of musicians — established and developing artists alike — who have talked publicly and passionately about the importance of quality local radio to musicians and fans.
With that in mind, we'll take this opportunity to give props to Nicole Atkins, Erin McKeown, Indigo Girls and all the other artists who have stepped up to demonstrate their support for quality local radio.
We at FMC have always supported expanding LPFM — 100 watt community radio broadcasters with a range of 5-7 miles — as an alternative to the increasingly homogenized commercial dial. In addition to providing a platform for civic discourse, community engagement and public safety information, LPFMs give artists a way to reach listeners in their own hometowns. Where true local radio exists, communities grow stronger and scenes can develop. The internet has been huge for artists reaching out across great distances, but local radio lets people know what's happening in their own backyards. And this can have a positive affect on everything from local culture to area businesses.
The FCC has wanted to issue more LPFM licenses for a decade, but Congress, at the behest of large broadcasters, put unnecessary limitations put on how many stations could be built. Now those caps could finally be lifted, putting true community radio at the fingertips of people in towns and cities across the country.
After the House decides on its version of the bill, there will hopefully be a Senate floor vote. After that, it's just the small matter of the President signing it into law. (You do remember Schoolhouse Rock, right?)
We'll definitely keep you up to date on developments, so stay tuned!