Community radio activists looking for Senate LPFM vote


The Local Community Radio Act sailed through the House of Representatives and the Senate Commerce Committee during the course of 2010, but remains locked in the Senate. Activists are hoping its sponsors can sneak it through the Senate in the waning days of the lame duck session, but seem to be facing a series of hand-off anonymous holds.

According to a report in Radio Survivor, NAB is contending that there are plenty of frequencies open for LPFMs, and reminding certain senators of that fact. LPFM supporters note, however, that even if the NAB is correct, without LCRA’s elimination of 3rd adjacency protection for incumbent stations, there is no room for such stations in urban areas where to date they have made very little headway.

Radio Survivor said that last known senator to put a hold on the bill was John Barrasso (R-WY), but said he removed the hold prior to Thanksgiving. It said there is another anonymous hold, and this time the holder has thus far remained anonymous.

An article in American Prospect noted the success some such stations have had in bringing local content to communities, and more particularly, to population niches within communities.

American prospect called for its enactment before the 111th Congress goes into the history books, and said it was a bill that both parties should be able to get behind. “For Democrats, it’s a chance to prove that they’re for the little guy,” wrote American Prospect. “For Republicans, especially those enthralled with the Tea Party movement, it’s a victory in the cause of localism. This lame-duck Congress has a chance to take a stand for the idea that media should actually benefit the people. If only our elected representatives could hear the message.”

NAB earlier indicated that it neither supported nor opposed LCRA, but wanted some minor tweaks included, one of which was acknowledgement that full power FM radio is the primary service in its part of the spectrum.

RBR-TVBR observation: ‘Tis the season to append a bill onto some other more important bill and slip it into law. That may still happen with LCRA, or maybe it’ll get a straight up and down vote on the Senate floor. But we’d have to guess that it’s most likely curtains for this bill in the 111th Congress, and that proponents will be back at it again next year.