NW community radio leaders speak up for Low-Power FM

by Lupito Flores, KYRS Spokane

In April, Gavin Dahl (Boise Community Radio), Erubiel Valladares-Carranza (KPCN Woodburn) and I traveled to Washington DC, representing the Northwest Community Radio Network as part of Prometheus Radio Project's Low Power FM lobby days. Along with community radio activists from across the country, we worked to help build support for the Local Community Radio Act, a bill in Congress right now which will expand Low Power FM stations like KYRS, and save those that are threatened by encroaching commercial stations. The Senate bill was introduced by Senators Maria Cantwell and John McCain, and the House version is co-sponsored by Rep. McMorris-Rogers (WA).

In Washington, we met with Senator Cantwell and her legislative assistant Michael Daum--both champions of community radio. I also met with Jason Park, Legislative Assistant to Senator Murray, who has yet to sign on to the bill. He didn't offer any reasons why the Senator hasn't signed on. We provided him with lots of background information and reminded him that the Congressionally-mandated MITRE study proved that LPFMs do not interfere with full power stations.

We were received warmly by the offices of Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. Cathy McMorris, and Rep. Rick Larsen. While McDermott has been a strong supporter of community radio, Larsen has had closer ties with the broadcasting industry in Washington State - who are continuing to oppose

The National Association of Broadcasters has lobbied hard to convince legislators that Low Power FM stations interfere with commercial stations. The $2 million Mitre study proved exactly the opposite. This bill would simply allow the FCC to do the job it told Congress it wants to do: expand the LPFM service and protect those that are encroached upon.

Please contact Senator Murray and urge her to co-sponsor S592, the Local Community Radio Act. You can call Murray's office toll free at (866) 481-9186 or email her at her website: murray.senate.gov. If you live in Rep. Larsen's district, please call him at (202) 225-2605. Let him know that your community needs more community radio - and that years of research prove that the commercial broadcasting industry is just afraid of competition.

Please make the call or send an email today to support Low Power FM community radio! For more information, check out reclaimthemedia.org or prometheusradio.org

In photo: Lupito Flores, Gavin Dahl, Erubiel Valladares-Carranza, and Andalusia Knoll (Prometheus) at the FCC. Check out more photos and video from LPFM lobby days.

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey