They aren’t saying that the Local Community Radio Act will cure cancer, eliminate the deficit and open the door to the exploration of Neptune, but media watchdogs were thrilled that the bill finally made it through Congress. Free Press said the bill opens up the possibility of hearing LPFM to 160M Americans currently out in the cold.
Free Press’s Candace Clement said, “We are thrilled that Congress has finally passed legislation that will put the airwaves back in the hands of our communities. The Local Community Radio Act will make it possible for hundreds, if not thousands, of new local radio stations to go on the air.”
“The Local Community Radio Act removes restrictions on the licensing of low power FM radio stations, and opens up the public airwaves for the 160 million people who have been excluded from the benefits of community radio. These noncommercial stations will help to diversify the airwaves, support local music and culture, and assist communities during emergencies. This is an amazing and exciting victory for the many organizations across the country who have been waiting for an opportunity to get on the air.
Free Press listed organizations that were instrumental in pressuring for the bill’s passage, including Prometheus Radio Project, Future of Music Coalition, Media and Democracy Coalition, Media Access Project, National Hispanic Media Coalition, United Church of Christ Office of Communication, Inc., U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Christian Coalition, Catholic Radio Association, MoveOn.org, ColorOfChange.org, New America Foundation, Media and Democracy Coalition. The organization said there were many others that pitched in.
Another organization which made passage possible was the National Association of Broadcasters, which was able to inspire the insertion of tweaks to the bill designed to protect incumbents from interference, and then helped grease the wheels for passage.
RBR-TVBR observation: It takes more than being available to attract an audience, and it will be very interesting to see how well new urban LPFMs do on that count. Anybody who has ever tried to make a significant splash with a rimshot Class A FM already has a good idea how difficult it can be to get people to tune in.