Local Community Radio Act Passes House Subcommittee in 15-1 Vote
October 8, 2009
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.”
One clear way to put the community back in radio is to lift the unnecessary restrictions on LPFM stations in larger American towns and cities. LPFM stations are community-based, non-commercial radio broadcasters that operate at 100 watts or less and reach a radius of three to seven miles. LPFM provides a platform for underserved musical genres, minority, religious and linguistic groups and offers a forum for debate about important local issues.
Today’s Subcommittee vote represents a major victory for community radio advocates including Future of Music Coalition, Prometheus Radio Project, United Church of Christ and more. Yet there is still work to be done before new stations can begin serving local communities. “The bill still has a long way to go in the legislative process, but I am optimistic that by the end of the year the Local Community Radio Act will be signed into law,” said Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA), lead co-sponsor of the bill with Congressman Lee Terry (R-NE).
On Tuesday, October 5, Congressman Doyle appeared alongside New Jersey songwriter/musician Nicole Atkins in a special conversation at the 2009 Future of Music Policy Summit at Georgetown University in Washington DC. The two discussed, among other policy matters, the importance of Low Power FM to arts and cultural communities.
In April 2009, Atkins joined Doyle at a Hill Briefing on LPFM. “My hometown community station was the first station to play my music, which gave me confidence as an artist,” said Atkins. “There’s no longer any stations like that in my town, and LPFM would be a way to give other artists the same chance I had.”
In June, FMC launched the I Support Community Radio campaign, which features established and emerging musicians talking about how local radio has positively impacted their lives, both as artists and listeners.