Civil rights group pushes for expansion of low-power FM

Radio Ink:

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights has put out a new report, "Low Power Radio: Lost Opportunity or Success on the Dial?" The report was issued with the support of Reps. Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Lee Terry (R-NE), co-sponsors of the Local Community Radio Act, which would lift third-adjacent channel protections for full-power FMs to allow more LPFM licenses.

The report says, "In an era of mass media consolidation, LCCR believes that it is important to preserve an avenue through which diverse viewpoints can be represented over the public airwaves, namely, low-power radio."

The LCCR's report says that Congress "second-guessed" the FCC when it kept third-adjacent protections in place with the Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act in 2000, and that it has not since adjusted the rules in light of the Mitre Corp.'s independent review in 2003, which, says the LCCR, "found no significant problems and recommended lifting the unnecessary restrictions imposed by Congress."

The report also details some demographic statistics on radio ownership, saying women make up 51 percent of the U.S. population but own 6 percent of radio stations, while racial and ethnic minorities make up 33 percent of the population but own 7.7 percent of radio stations. More than 87 percent of stations are controlled by non-Hispanic white owners, says the LCCR.

The LCCR concludes, "The success of LPFM is important to the civil rights community. In an era of mass media consolidation, the civil rights community believes that it is important to preserve an avenue through which diverse viewpoints can be represented over the public airwaves. By dramatically lowering financial and other barriers that prevent many community voices from being heard on the airwaves, the FCC's low-power FM initiative represents the best opportunity in years for diversity in radio broadcasting and ownership."

Read the report here.

article originally published at Radio Ink.

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