Tales of the Sausage Factory: Community Radio Needs You!

I’m reprinting below a call to arms by Free Press to help secure passage of S. 2505. This bill will repeal the NAB-sponsored law passed in 2000 that scaled back the community-based low power FM service (LPFM). Details below

The short version of the LPFM fight: in 1999, the FCC proposed relaxing the 1950-tech based interference standards to allow creation of hundreds of low power FM stations that would be non-commercial and locally run. The NAB tried to squash this with bigus interference claims. When they lost at the FCC, the convinced Congress to scale back the service to a mere tenth of the number of stations and required the FCC to run a new interference study designed by the NAB. In 2003, the FCC concluded its interference study and found that LPFM created no interference issues. But the law Congress passed in 2000 did not allow the FCC to restore the old rules. Only an act of Congress can do that. Senators McCain and Leahy have now proposed legislation to do just that.

LPFM does not cure all the ills of media consolidation — but it does provide one tiny ray of localism in communities overrun with Clear Channel, Cumulus and Media General stations indistinguishable from each other or stations licensed hundreds of miles away. I urge everyone to answer the Free Press call and fight to roll back the artificial restrictions on LPFM.

My organization, Media Access Project, has a backgrounder on LPFM here. Free Press also has one./a> Another good source for information is the Prometheous Radio Project.

Begin Free Press call to arms.


Dear Friend of Local Radio:

Radio giant Clear Channel and the other big broadcasters have been fighting to prevent local communities from starting low power radio stations across America. These “LPFM” stations are a crucial part of the movement to create better local, independent and diverse media.

Recently, Senators John McCain [R-AZ] and Patrick Leahy [D-VT] introduced legislation that would issue broadcast licenses to thousands of new noncommercial radio stations across the nation. Most Senators want to support LPFM, but -as usual – they are getting hammered by the powerful broadcast lobby.

Last year over two million real petitions prompted Congress to attempt to overturn new FCC rules that let Big Media get even bigger. Your activism made the difference. We can do it again.

Go to www.freepress.net/lpfm. Sign the petition.

Next, call your Senators, or call the U.S. Congress switchboard toll-free at 1-800-839-5276. Tell them to co-sponsor Senate Bill 2505. After you call, report back on the results of your conversation by calling 1-877-90-RADIO,


A little background: A few years ago, Clear Channel (which owns more than one out of every ten radio stations) and the National Association of Broadcasters made bogus claims that low-power radio signals would interfere with their own signals, and successfully blocked new LPFM licenses in the

nation’s 50 biggest markets. A recently-released technical study debunked that claim, and pulled away the last fig leaf hiding their anti-competitive agenda.

They have the money, but we have the numbers. Outvote the industry lobbyists. Call your Senators and sign the petition at www.freepress.net/lpfm. Please pass this on to everyone you know who supports independent, non-commercial media.


Josh Silver

Managing Director

Free Press


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