Legislation and Regulation

Protect and expand low power community radio!


Across the US, noncommercial low power FM stations provide communities with uniquely local voices and programming. Yet while no LPFM station is more than a few years old, they all remain members of an endangered species--their expansion hobbled by Congress and their existence threatened by overly restrictive rules set by the FCC. For example, a LPFM station lacks "primary status," meaning that a commercial station using the same frequency can boost power and boot the LPFM off the air, even if the LPFM was there first. As it happens, Spokane's KYRS/Thin Air Community Radio appears to be facing exactly that threat, as a commercial station from Idaho prepares to beam more country music into Spokane.
Luckily, the FCC has just opened a window for public comments on how to improve LPFM broadcasting. Let them know that community radio deserves equal status with Clear Channel! You can take two steps today to protect community radio: first, use this form to contact the FCC; ask them to protect stations like KYRS by granting LPFM stations primary status. (The Prometheus Radio Project has a few other suggestions as well.) Then contact your Senators and ask them to support the McCain/Cantwell Local Community Radio Act, to expand low-power radio nationwide.

[ Contact the FCC about its current LPFM Rulemaking ]

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Adelstein raps consolidation at IPA conference

by Reyhan Harmanci, San Francisco Chronicle

The Independent Press Association Conference, as most conferences do, handed out name tags. And because those attending the Argonaut Hotel conference over the weekend came from various magazines, their tags

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FCC sends wrong signal on digital TV

by Mike Langberg, San Jose Mercury News

Uncle Sam wants you . . . to buy a digital television.

Yes, our government is now in the business of pushing expensive TV sets on consumers who are wisely keeping their wallets closed.

I'm talking about an unusual marketing effort that sends the Federal

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Copps presented with Backbone Award


In Portland on June 24, Reclaim the Media joined the Backbone Campaign to present FCC Commissioner Michael Copps with a Backbone Award in recognition of his principled advocacy for public interest values within the Bush-era FCC. Previous recipients of the award include Jim McDermott, Dennis Kucinich, Maxine Waters, Howard Dean and Amy Goodman.

[ Backbone Campaign ]
[ Copps' dissent from June 2003 decision ]
[ more about Copps ]

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Court to FCC: Not so fast


The Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia has permanently stayed the FCC's June 2003 decision attacking media ownership rules, remanding the matter to the FCC for reconsideration. The Court definitively rejected much of the process the FCC used to arrive at its decision, directing the Commission to privilege the public interest over market considerations. Plaintiffs the Prometheus Radio Project and Media Access Project were quick to praise the decision, as were other public interest advocates and Commissioners Copps and Adelstein. Chairman Powell and big media corporations were alone in criticizing the decision, which Powell called perverse.

[ Prometheus Radio Project vs. FCC: opinion | judgment ]
[ Media Access Project summary of the decision ]

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In Portland, Copps and Adelstein hail media owner ruling

Residents get a rare chance to address FCC members at a Portland town hall on the media and public interest

by Mike Rogoway, Oregonian

Two members of the Federal Communications Commission cheered a federal appeals court's decision to throw out less restrictive rules on media ownership and found

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Copps receives Backbone Award in Portland

Showing Spine: FCC Commissioner Michael Copps awarded Backbone Award for fighting media consolidation

The Backbone Campaign will present a Backbone Award to FCC Commissioner Michael Copps during his Portland visit Thursday, June 24, 2004.

The Backbone Campaign, a grassroots effort to embolden

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The Seattle Statement on Radio


End payola and broadcaster/promoter monopolies and open local airwaves to local music. Restore low-power FM and the fairness doctrine, and hold stations accountable to local public interest obligations. Break up the largest radio conglomerates. These and other recommendations appear in the newly released Seattle Statement on Radio. Offering a solutions-oriented critique of the radio industry, the statement is the result of collaboration among the music professionals, commercial and noncommercial radio staff, media activists and unionists who took part in February's Fixing Radio Forum in Seattle - a community hearing on media policy issues. Read more about the forum and the statement.

[ Seattle Statement on Radio ]
[ Fixing Radio Forum ]

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Media Politics: Low Power to the People

by Jonathan Lawson

Speaking before an audience of Mercer Island High School students in May, Washington Senator Maria Cantwell recalled an experience which impressed upon her the power of independent, grassroots media to undergird democratic principles. In the mid-1990s, her then-employer Real Networks

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Taking Action for Low-Power FM


Senators John McCain and Patrick Leahy have introduced a bill to expand non-commercial community radio across the country, by reauthorizing Low-Power FM (LPFM). UPDATE: Senator Cantwell has joined McCain and Leahy as a sponsor of the bill. The new legislation would repeal a 2000 law - passed after a deceptive strong-arm lobbying effort by the National Association of Broadcasters and NPR - which placed unnecessary technological and administrative restrictions on LPFM applicants.

This bill is a tremendous step towards democratizing our airwaves, benefiting community groups, religious organizations, youth, minorities and radio listeners in general. It deserves bipartisan support. Contact your legislators today and make sure they support community radio by supporting the McCain/Leahy Bill.

[ Legislative contact info for Washington State ]
Prometheus Radio Project ]

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