Atlantic Magazine technology writer Christina Dunbar-Hester has published an article called “The History and Future of Hyper-Local Radio,” making the case for the viability of low power FM and extolling the virtues of locally-controlled media.
Dunbar-Hester noted the fact that for the most part LPFM has been relegated to sparsely-populated areas, since it is still subject to honoring 3rd-adjacency protection of full power stations, and in urban areas, spectrum holes that wide are hard to come by.
Still, she says many of the mostly small-town stations are doing well. She also noted the exemplary record LPFM established during the Hurricane Katrina crisis. She also noted instances where it was a useful news and information tool for niche populations, citing farm workers in Florida as a specific example.
She addressed the lack of action on Capitol Hill, writing, “Why hasn’t the Local Community Radio Act passed yet? One main reason is Congressional dysfunction; nobody in Congress truly opposes its passage, and President Obama has indicated he will sign it into law. But it’s also on the top of no one’s agenda. No one wins elections based on their support for low-power FM radio.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Atlantic seems surprised that the Local Community Radio Act has not passed, in the absence of any real opposition, and so too are we. Perhaps the concerns of another group that is frustrated by lack of action on bills may provide the ultimate answer.
That group is the House of Representatives. According to TheHill.com, the House has passed some 420 bills along to the Senate, where they have been allowed to ferment, or fester, depending on your point of view.
The rules in the Senate, generally considered to be far more arcane than those of the House, allow 40 senators to grind a bill to a halt via filibuster, and other rules allow a single senator to put a bill on hold, or hold it hostage, to phrase it another way.
Predicting when action on legislation will take place is a fool’s game. One day we will wake up and this will be the law of the land. Or maybe it will just rot in some senatorial cubbyhole somewhere. If we were working for Prometheus, we’d be communicating with key staffers of both Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) every single day to speed up the former and prevent the latter.