Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
the latest News on Low Power FM radio
by Partytown Streaming network (jhill [at]
Thursday Jan 18th, 2001 9:54 PM
Congress, with the help of the NAB & NPR, has gutted the opportunity for hundreds of diverse community stations to go on the air.
Nearly a year after the Federal Communications Commission approved a new Low Power FM radio service, Congress with the help of the National Association of Broadcasters and National Public Radio has gutted the opportunity for hundreds of diverse communitystations to go on the air. In January of 2000, the FCC granted approval to a new radio service that would be used for community oriented programming serving schools, civic clubs, state and local governments, churches and other non-profit organizations. This would offer more local views and voicesto be available amidst the overpowering corporatecommercial stations that dominate the publics airwaves.

The FCC was prodded into establishing this new service partly because of the pressure from micro-radio advocates and pirate radio enthusiasts. While the new radio service was a step forward in thepublics right to reclaim portions of the FM radiospectrum, many feel the FCC shouldn't stand in the way of free speech and the publics right to the airwaves.Overall, it was an opportunity for many unheard voices to operate a small station in their community that wouldoffer local programming not supported by the large corporate clusters that plague the airwaves.

The FCC came up with a lottery that determined when and which states and territories would be applying for the new licenses. The first filing window was slated for June and contained the first 10 states and territories decided by the lottery. During that filing window, over 700 applications for a new low power fm radio station constructionpermit were filed. The next window opened in the fall, hundreds of applications from more states and territories were submitted. During this time period, the hucksters lobbying for the NAB and NPR bribedCongress members to introduce legislation that wouldeliminate the majority of the proposed new voices. H.R. 3439 was born to it's diabolical parents,Representative Michael Oxley (Ohio) whom receivedover $41,000 from the NAB's Political Action Committeeknown as TARPAC, and Representative Frank Pallone (New Jersey)who received over $11,000 from TARPAC. While it was passed by the House of Representatives, it didn't get much further until Senator Rod Gramms (Minnesota) introduced the exact same bill into the Senate whichbecame S.3020. These two pieces of legislation whichbasically carry the same verbiage was called the "Radio Preservation Act of 2000", if passed, it would severely limit the amount of possible LPFM stations across the country.

Meanwhile, the media responded with a blackout on the issue. Hardly a speck of press made mainstream news about Low Power FM and the plot of the NAB and NPR to kill it in Congress.Advocates began to take direct action against the NAB and NPR with protests at their annualconventions and withholding pledgesfrom NPR affiliate fundraising drives. LPFM applicants and advocates began writing, calling and faxing their congressional representatives,urging them to vote against any legislation that wouldlimit opportunities for churches, schools, Local government and civic organizations from having a voice on the publics airwaves. Still, no mainstream press was willing to touch this and it was kept silent from the majority of the public. Then, Election time came, it was a crucial time in the Senate as theywere hurrying through their sessions trying to finish business before the election. Still, the bill wasstranded in the Senate, waiting to be acted upon. Then in the 11th hour, Senator Trent Lott helped to move S. 3020 onto one of the budgetappropriation bills. Without the bill having it's due process, it was gloom and doom for LPFM supporters and current applicants. The announcement of the third filing windowwas delayed during the election process and it wasn't until the election was finally stolen by George Bush Jr. that Congress passed the appropriations bill sending it on to the President for approval.While the President did veto an earlier version of that appropriationsbill citing problems with some of the legislation including LPFM, he didn't veto it a second time.

The new anti-LPFM legislation has killed hundreds of stations because of false third adjacent channel interference issues. The NAB conjured up fraudulent fears of interference to high power stations 3 channels away, thus limiting the amount of free space on the band for new low power stations. Besides the third adjacent issue, thelegislation also asks for unnecessary testing in order to delay stations from going on the air even when the FCC had conducted it's own tests for years prior to approving the new service.

Take this example:Picture the FM band as a long parking lot, where each parking space represents a frequency.Lets say that LPFM applicants are little foot powered scooters. They can get you around your immediate area, but there is a limit to how far you can pedal. The big corporate broadcasters are like large tractor trailer trucks. These trucks are high poweredmoney making machines that carry their loads crosscountry. The FCC says that LPFM has to have two spaces between it and other parked stations. The NAB and NPR want to have three parking places on either side of their stations limiting the number ofparking places available for LPFM. They also want to conduct testing of the new LPFMparking places before allowing LPFM's to park.

Corporate broadcasters feel that the LPFM scooter must park at least 3 spaces (channels) away from theNAB/NPR Big Rig at all times.Unfortunately in some largely populated areas, there is no open spaces available for LPFM, and in some areas the NAB and NPR aredouble parking their trucks taking up valuable parking lot real estate.

Currently, LPFM is not completely dead, but it's has been wounded severely by the sneakybackdoor shenanigans of our corporate ownedpoliticians. The FCC has announced the third filingwindow which will open January 16th and close January 22nd. During that week, the third group of 10states and territories will be able to file FORM 318,an application for a Low Power FM construction permit. The FCC has also recently announced that 255 of theinitial applicants from the first two filing windows areeligible for a construction permit which could be grantedwithin the next month. Those not cleared await anotherannouncement from the FCC on their status andpossibility for amendments to be made to theirapplications. These eligible applications are also up for public comment during this time.

For more information on these applications and the most recent announcements from the FCC, visit their web site at

There is still much we can do in the fight to obtain our access to the airwaves. Call up your local NPR affiliate and talk to their station managerabout LPFM. Ask them what their stand on the newcommunity radio service is and urge them to convincetheir governing board to support LPFM, not oppose it.Explain how you will be encouraging other NPR supporters to withhold any donations untilNPR backs off on their opposition to community radio.Write your representatives and tell them howdisappointed you are in how the anti-LPFM legislationwas handled. Call in to local talk radio stations and strikeup conversation about the big media blackout of LPFMand ask if their company is a part of the NAB. We need to get the message out that National Public Radio and the National Association of Broadcasters are working together to preventlow power community radio. It's time to reform the broadcast industry andpolitical campaign contributions. The two create a vicious circle, not unlike money laundering. Politicians rake in millions from the broadcast industryvia TARPAC, which is then given back to thebroadcasters for campaign advertising. Corporate Media dominates what influences our dailylives, and it is at the root of many of our societalailments. Preventing independent diverse voices fromsharing their stories is working against the interest of the public and it's time for the public to rise up and take back what is ours to begin with.Free radio from the bonds of corporate control, free your mind!

for continuing coverage of LPFM and the corporate media

You can leave your comments about this this or any newson our toll free voice mail. Dial 1-888-962-4526, 1-888-9-MAILBOX, select option 1 to leave a voice mail and punch inaccount code 1-209-555-2000.
Add Your Comments
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


donate now

$ 130.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.


Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network