Well, we thought we’d have news about the Local Community Radio Act vote in the full House on Tuesday, but they didn’t get to it until yesterday (Wednesday). We don’t want to keep the suspense going any longer than necessary, so let’s cut to the chase…
Last night at 7:05 PM, Low Power FM made history by clearing the final hurdle in the House of Representatives. This is the farthest pro-LPFM legislation has come in a decade. Suffice it to say, we’re thrilled. It feels good, in this day and age, to know that policymakers on both sides of the aisle recognize that expanding LPFM service to more American towns and cities is so important to local communities. An added bonus is the fact that the National Association of Broadcasters — the trade lobby that fought hard against LPFM at the start of the decade — has dropped its opposition to expanding community radio.
“The NAB and NPR have removed their objections and do not oppose this bill. The time has come to make the airwaves available to the people they serve. The time has come to give low power to the people,” said lead cosponsor Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA).
Companion legislation has already cleared key Senate committees, and now it needs to be passed by the full body. After that, the the FCC is free to move forward with issuing more licenses for 100-watt stations to community groups nationwide. This would be huge for civic debate, public safety and arts and culture. You know, like local and indie musicians — who, regardless of their talent and popularity, have little chance to be heard on their neighborhood commercial stations.
Last time we talked about LPFM we gave high-fives to all the artists who have come forward to support expanding true community radio. Well, let’s give one more round of applause for Nicole Atkins, Erin McKeown, Indigo Girls and all the other musicians who really made a difference in raising awareness about LPFM.
What a great Christmas present!