In this age of satellite and Internet radio, it’s easy to underestimate the importance of small, noncommercial terrestrial radio stations to independent artists.
“There is a real disparity between people who can access the Web and satellite radio and those who can’t,” musician Erin McKeown says. “There are also a lot of people who listen to the radio in their cars out of habit, and it’s easier for them to flip to a new channel than convert to satellite.”
McKeown and others who say they owe their careers to small, noncommercial stations are celebrating a recent victory. On Oct. 15, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the Local Community Radio Act of 2009, which eases requirements on channel separation between low-power and full-power FM stations, paving the way for more LP FMs to appear on the radio dial. The legislation will now go before the House of Representatives for a full floor vote.
LPFMsâ€”which typically have a range of three to seven miles with transmitters of up to 100 wattsâ€”have long been an important vehicle for ethnic, religious and local community programming. And LP FMs, especially those affiliated with colleges and universities, have provided vital exposure for niche music genres and independent artists.
Getting the bill out of the House committee represents a huge step forward, according to Michael Bracy, policy director at the Future of Music Coalition.
“We had success getting the legislation through the Senate before, but this is the first time we got it past the House committee,” Bracy says. “There was a lot of consensus and not a lot of debate, either, which bodes well. I feel pretty optimistic it will pass the House in the next month and get through the Senate and signed by the end of this session. If this all happens, the licensing window would be late 2010 or early 2011.” read more
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? read more
Washington, D.C.? On Thursday, October 8, the Local Community Radio Act of 2009 passed out of House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet in a sweeping 15 to 1 vote. The Act would clear the way for hundreds of Low Power FM (LPFM) broadcasters in American towns and communities ? stations that can help fill the void in local programming created by a consolidated commercial radio marketplace.
?Future of Music Coalition is very pleased that policymakers have recognized the fundamental role Low Power FM can play in local communities,? said Michael Bracy, Policy Director for Future of Music Coalition. ?LPFM is vital to musicians around the country, who rely on local radio as a way to reach audiences. It can also help undo the tremendous damage to localism as a result of rampant consolidation in the commercial broadcast industry. There?s no good reason not to allow more LPFM in more American towns and cities. Quality local radio is too important a resource to hold back.? read more
Holy crap — it’s
newsletter time again already!?!
Well, we’ve got plenty
to talk about, including
our brand-new “I Support
Community Radio” artist
video campaign, a couple
of victories for Low Power
FM radio and a more on our
upcoming FMC Policy Summit.
Read on for the details.
FMC Policy Summit: Oct.
4-6, 2009 - we want your input!
Big wins for Low
Community Radio” artist
Bringing Musicians Home
Nicole Atkins on the Hill (More and better pics on the way!)
This just in: Washington DC has been been invaded. . . by Low Power FM supporters! We had you there for a second, right? OK, probably not.
As we previously mentioned, advocates from around the country have come to the Federal City to talk to their representatives about the importance of community radio (specifically LPFM) to their towns and cities. In addition to visits to Congressional offices, supporters went to the FCC and even the White House to tell their stories. read more
Congressional recess is over (or district work period, as the grown-ups call it) and our representatives are back on the Hill, doing those legislative things they do. So it's as good a time as any for a community radio pop-in.
On Thursday, April 23, Low Power FM supporters from around the country will visit the offices of their various representatives to talk about how LPFM benefits local communities. FMC is bringing kickass New Jersey singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins along for the ride, which includes a Policy Briefing on LPFM in room 5456 of the Rayburn House Office building. read more