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NPR Working Against Low-Powered FM
by LPFM Coalition
Saturday Sep 23rd, 2000 11:51 AM
Media reform groups call on listeners to withhold pledges until NPR stops beating up on neighborhood radio.

Coalition tells NPR Board: Stop Crusade Against Low Power Radio

Media reform groups call on listeners to withhold pledges until NPR stops beating up on neighborhood radio.

FCC issues final rules which incontrovertibly protect Reading Services for the Blind

A coalition of media reform groups and public radio listeners will call on the NPR board of directors to end their opposition to new community radios stations at a press conference outside of the San Francisco Hilton 333 O’Farrell on Saturday, September 23rd at noon.

The press conference will initiate a national series of “un-pledge drives,” where community radio advocates will call upon public radio listeners to withhold their pledges until NPR changes its stance against the FCC’s new low power radio (LPFM) service.

“I’ve already written my check for this year’s pledge to my local public radio affiliate,” said Andrea Buffa, Executive Director of Media Alliance and a longtime NPR supporter, “but I’m not sending it until NPR stops beating up on the community groups that want to start radio stations for their neighborhoods. We need small local stations, not just national news programs that never report about my neighborhood.”

A letter from the coalition refutes NPR’s claims that there could be interference from the new LPFM stations. According to Pete Tridish, of the Prometheus Radio Project, “The studies have been done, and the questions have been answered. The FCC has issued its final rules, and the Reading Services for the Blind are completely, indisputably protected from interference. NPR and the NAB lost on the technical merits of their arguments when they were evaluated by those most qualified to judge them - the radio engineers at the FCC. They are now trying to take their arguments to a venue where engineering expertise doesn’t count, but money and politics do -- the US Congress.” Four separate radio engineering studies evaluated the effects of low power radio signals on incumbent broadcasters. Despite studies affirming that LPFM would present no signal interference, the FCC issued a drastically scaled down set of rules for LPFM under pressure from NPR and the NAB.

The coalition has promised it will discourage pledges to NPR affiliates that back NPR’s position. “We’re sorry that it had to come to this. The bureaucrats at the top of NPR have pushed their affiliates into carrying more and more national programming, while cutting back on locally produced radio. Now they are terrified that microradio will pull away audiences seeking local, neighborhood programming. They must be stopped before they destroy America’s best chance in twenty years for neighborhood radio,“ according to Peter Franck, of the National Lawyers Guild Center for Democratic Communications.

Background on LPFM:
Peter Franck, National Lawyers Guild http://www.nlgcdc.org, 415-381-9960/ 415-381-5560
Pete Tridish, Prometheus Radio Project http://www.prometheus.tao.ca 215-219-2327
Background on National Association of Broadcasters Protests: Andrea Buffa 415-546-6334/999-7985 http://www.mediademocracynow.org
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