Broadcast radio forgotten during committee give and take


Fred UptonSometimes being ignored by the powers that be in Washington is a good thing, and if that’s true, then the House Communications Subcommittee hearing on FCC Oversight was very good for radio.

The medium was virtually ignored throughout the session. The closest issue that received any mention at all was the tendency of cellular service to go down during an emergency, and that only came up during the preliminary statements of a few legislators. The FCC commissioners received no queries on the topic. The issue is tied to mobile FM chips.

There was no mention of local ownership caps, performance royalties, LPFM/translators
FM chip in mobile devices

In preliminary remarks, both leaders of the parent Energy and Commerce Committee, Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) (pictured) and Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA) noted the recent severe storms that hit the Washington DC area and suggested it was an area worthy of study. They caused massive outages of cell phone service, in addition to power generally.

Although neither brought it up specifically, the storms have renewed talk about activating FM chips in cell phones to take advantage of broadcast radio’s one-to-many spectrum-efficient distribution methodology.