The Local Community Radio Act of 2009 has been introduced by a bipartisan group of legislators in the House, a bill which would have the potential to create 3K low power FMs throughout the US. The Senate is expected to follow suit, and a former co-sponsor now works in the Oval Office.
Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Lee Terry (R-NE) have put the bill back in play, and are supported in the House by Jay Inslee (D-WA), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Ron Paul (R-TX), and Henry Waxman (D-CA). The bill had almost 100 co-sponsors last time around. Past supporters in the Senate have included John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL).
"Diverse, informative, thought-provoking, locally oriented programming has been dramatically restricted across the country by the current federal laws governing the separation between broadcast frequencies," said Doyle. "Enactment of this legislation would improve the quality of life in communities across the country by providing new and different programming — especially programming addressing local interests and events — to these communities."
Prometheus Radio Project and the Future of Music Coalition are among the watchdogs pushing for the measure, and a third, Free Press, has organized a click-and-send letter campaign to put pressure on legislators to support the measure.
RBR/TVBR observation: The key to shoe-horning in all of these new low power FMs is eliminating 3rd adjacency protection for incumbent FM stations, based on a Mitre report that the NAB has claimed is fatally flawed. But with Republicans as well as Democrats supporting the measure and a former co-sponsor in the White House, it’s probably only a matter of time before we find out the hard way who is right about interference.