Kimberli Meyer on Thu, 30 Mar 2000 02:01:14 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Is congress killing lpfm?

Dear nettimers: 

Though not exactly a net issue, the cause of low-power radio
broadcasting is one that should be important to all who are
concerned with independent media. The FCC recently voted in a
landmark decision to allow the licensing of micro radio stations.
Now the National Association of Broadcasters is pissed because
they have to share their market. According to an article in
Monday's NY times, NAB lobbyists are blanketing members of
congress with misleading CD's which purportedly "demonstrate the
kind of radio interference" that would be caused by
micro-stations. The times reports "Although government engineers
say the simulations are downright fraudulent and cannot be
replicated at the F.C.C.'s radio lab, the compact disc has had a
substantial impact on the debate in Congress and has been
repeatedly  cited by lawmakers as evidence of the need to block
the low-power program." Call or email your representatives. The
info is in the message below. Also check out the  The Low Power
Radio Coalition site at for more
complete information on the history and intricacies of the issue.

stop big money, stop the oxley bill,
H.R.3439 - bill's title: To prohibit
the Federal Communications Commission
from establishing rules authorizing the
operation of new, low power FM radio

Related Bills: S.2068 (for the senate)


    this site will make it easy for you
to find your u.s. senator or representative
so you can email them and let them
know how you feel about the low power
fm issue and attempts by some in congress
to stop and kill it:

takes only moments to do, please.

then forward this email to others.



D.C. to Get Low-Power FM Permits, if Program Survives

By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 28, 2000; Page E01

Washington, already center stage in the
increasingly heated debate over low-power FM
radio, just got a little hotter.

The District of Columbia will be among the
first dozen U.S. jurisdictions to be awarded
low-power FM licenses, thanks to a lottery
held yesterday morning at the Federal
Communications Commission.

That is, if Congress doesn't kill the whole
program first.

The FCC is pushing hard to license low-power
FM radio stations--small broadcast facilities
of between one and 100 watts in power, whose
signal could cover an area up to about seven
miles wide. The proposal is being fought hard
by the National Association of
Broadcasters--the powerful Washington lobby
of commercial broadcasters--and the
organization's allies in Congress. They
believe the low-power stations will interfere
with existing FM stations; the FCC says

"Six months from today, the first low-power
stations may be on the air," FCC Chairman
William E. Kennard said before yesterday's
drawing. Then he framed the debate in its
larger, more political context, hurling a
barb at his chief adversary--the NAB.

"This is about the haves--the broadcast
industry--trying to prevent many
have-nots--small community and educational
organizations--from having just a little
piece of the pie," he said.

While the FCC proceeds with the licensing
process, Rep. Michael G. Oxley (R-Ohio) has
introduced legislation that would kill
low-power outright. His bill has more than
150 co-sponsors and will soon appear before
the House Commerce Committee. Speaker J.
Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) may call a vote later
this week. There is similar, slower-moving
legislation in the Senate.

The NAB gave every member of Congress a
compact disc playing "simulated interference"
that the lobbying organization says will be
caused by low-power stations. On it, the
signal of public radio station WAMU (88.5) is
mixed with a weaker signal to illustrate
"cross-talk interference." It sounds like two
people speaking simultaneously, one quieter
than the other.

In response, the FCC issued its own CD--a
clip of an a cappella song by folk rocker
Suzanne Vega. The FCC says it bombarded the
song with up to 100,000 times the
interference that it believes low-power
stations would cause. The result is not
"cross-talk," but a slight background hiss.

Hours after yesterday's lottery drawing, the
rebuttal to the FCC interference studies was
already posted on the NAB Web site.

"NAB stands by every study that we presented
to the FCC in the [low-power radio]
proceeding," NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton
said in a statement. "The undeniable fact is
that hundreds of thousands of radio listeners
will experience additional interference as a
result of" [low-power radio.]"

In the middle of this high-powered political
fracas are folks such as the Mount Pleasant
Broadcasting Club, one of several groups in
the District eager to get their low-power
stations on the air. If awarded a license,
the club plans to serve the Spanish-speaking
residents of Mount Pleasant and Columbia
Heights, broadcasting public health and
labor-organization information (sometimes in
Spanish), as well as music, live Advisory
Neighborhood Commission meetings and poetry

Along with the District, Alaska, California,
Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, the
Mariana Islands, Maryland, Oklahoma, Rhode
Island and Utah are among the first
jurisdictions eligible to apply for a
low-power license.


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