This weekend marked another milestone with the passing of the Local Community Radio Act by both the United States Senate and House of Representatives, on the same day Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed. In response to overwhelming grassroots pressure, Congress has given the Federal Communications Commission a mandate to license thousands, of new community stations nationwide. The new legislation will expand radio airwaves to hundreds of Low Power FM stations, (LPFM) – a service the FCC created to address the shrinking diversity of voices on radio broadcasts.
According to the Future of Music Coalition:
“The addition of more (LPFM) stations will increase local civic engagement, diversify the airwaves, support local music and culture, assist during emergencies, expand religious expression and provide a platform for the voices of underrepresented communities to be heard.”
The bill’s passing champions new alternatives and voices on the radio dial nationwide, opening up a broadcast area reaching 160 million people in areas where these stations had previously been barred.
The bill also mandates FCC approval when providing new licenses, stating:
(1) that licenses are available to both FM translator stations and low-power FM stations; and
(2) that such decisions are made based on the needs of the local community.
A major victory for aspiring community-driven radio stations and broadcasters nationwide, it will be interesting to hear the emergence of new stations as a result of the legislation.
[via Huffington Post]