[This piece was co-authored by FMC Intern Ethan Clark and Events & Finance Director Chhaya Kapadia.]
On March 9, 2011 the Gibson Guitar Showroom in Washington, DC, hosted our celebration to mark the passage of the Local Community Radio Act. The night was ball and was a great opportunity to get together with our friends and colleagues and recognize an achievement that was 10 years in the making.
Thanks to the bipartisan leadership of Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Lee Terry (R-NE) and Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and John McCain (R-AZ), the House of Representatives and Senate passed the Local Community Radio Act this past December 2010. This legislation allows the FCC to grant more LPFM licenses, which in turn gives musicians of all stripes, under-served minorities, religious and linguistic communities a welcoming place on the radio dial. In short, LPFM adds more “local” to radio.
Along with much gratitude and moving remarks, our party featured an amazing performance by singer songwriter Nicole Atkins and special appearances by Representative Mike Doyle and Senator Maria Cantwell and FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Michael Copps. Other guests included our partners-in-LPFM — aka Prometheus Radio Project, Media Access Project, Free Press, and United Church of Christ, OC Inc — as well as Prometheus’ inimitable Pete Tridish who donned a stylish custom-made legal suit with the text of H.R. 6533 printed onto it.
A special shout out to our food and beverage donors: Taylor Gourmet, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Glaceau, Flying Dog Brewery, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Cosi and the rockin’ venue provided by Gibson Guitar’s Washington DC Showroom.
With blue cocktails in hand, let’s raise a glass to Low Power Radio!
Although we’re thrilled that the LPFM bill has finally passed, there’s plenty more to be done to ensure that musicians have access to the public airwaves. Currently, Congress is considering whether to defund the public broadcasting sector, which would have a huge negative impact on the entire music community, from local bands and venues to national touring acts. Check out this letter from the Decemberists to members of Congress, and stay tuned for ways to plug in to this important fight.
All photos by Caroline “Puck” Deutermann.