Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Support Low Power FM Radio

What Is LPFM?

Low Power FM – or LPFM -- stations are community-based, nonprofit radio stations that broadcast at the local level, to neighborhoods and small towns throughout the country.

Run by non-profits like colleges, churches, schools, labor unions and other community groups, LPFM stations provide local coverage, information and perspectives that are not available anywhere else. These non-commercial stations are uniquely positioned to meet local needs by:

Giving a voice to local groups and people who otherwise lack access to the media.
Offering a platform for discussing local issues.
Providing news, information and viewpoints ignored by traditional media.
Offering a training ground for students and others looking for a start in the radio business.
Strengthening neighborhood and community identity.
Issuing vital safety information during local emergencies.

LPFM stations operate at 100 watts or less and have a broadcast reach of just a few miles – but from the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts to Southwest Florida to the farming fields of the Pacific Northwest, LPFM stations are injecting a much-needed vibrancy into a radio dial gone stale from years of commercial consolidation.

After Congress first authorized LPFM stations in 2000, the Federal Communications Commission began to issue LPFM licenses, awarding more than 800 licenses to civil rights organizations, schools and church groups across the country.

Soon after, Congress – under pressure from Big Media lobbyists – passed a misguided piece of legislation that radically reduced the radio spectrum available to LPFM stations because of claims of LPFM interference with signals from full power radio stations. Since then, thousands of applications for LPFM licenses have been blocked, preventing local communities from launching their own LPFM stations.

Congress ordered the FCC to study the issue, and, in 2003, the FCC released a $2 million study -- known as the "Mitre Report" -- which found that increasing the number of LPFM stations would not interfere with full power stations. The FCC then urged Congress to repeal the LPFM restrictions.

Now, new bipartisan legislation in Congress (H.R. 1147 / S. 592) promises to open the radio dial to thousands of new LPFM stations across the country, bringing fresh music, local perspectives and community news to the public airwaves.

The bipartisan Local Community Radio Act (HR 1147/ S. 592) sponsored by Reps. Mike Doyle and Lee Terry and Sens. Maria Cantwell and John McCain would expand noncommercial, Low Power FM (LPFM) radio to towns and cities across the country.

Expanding LPFM radio is an issue that has received widespread support from Republicans and Democrats alike. It will help restore much-needed diversity to our airwaves, bringing forth new voices and viewpoints that are often overlooked by large commercial broadcasters.

Please support the Local Community Radio Act. Tell Congress to open up the radio dial to more LPFM Stations.

Click here to sign the letter.

From the website:


  1. Thanks for informing me of this--signed it!

  2. I signed it too. Lawrence had one of these low-power stations for a while a few years ago. It was operated out of the basement of Liberty Hall. It wasn't quite legit but it wasn't doing any harm -- they were using a part of the spectrum that nobody else was using around here. It was shut down when the KU's student radio station, KJHK, filed a complaint against it. I was really disappointed in KJHK for doing that.

  3. That is disappointing. I had always thought well of KJHK. What was their problem?

  4. I don't know. They probably considered it unfair competition because none of the announcers or DJ's on the bootleg station had to be licensed or really follow any rules at all.

    You know, you gotta figure there are a certain percentage of broadcasting students who are shooting to become TV news anchorpersons or top-40 DJ's. In other words, they've got a head start at becoming corporate wonks and all-around assholes. For every cool student DJ at KJHK who likes the idea of community radio, there's probably a frat-boy DJ who wants nothing more than to just crush his competitors.

  5. True. You're right--And I think there are a lot of frat types who go into journalim and advertising and media management, and there is more to KJHK than just a bunch of laid-back student DJ's.