Pittsburghers honor Rep. Mike Doyle, prep for LPFM


Some in the Pittsburgh market feel completely left out when it comes to local radio, and activists are already getting ready for the advent of LPFM in the city – they think they might be able to squeeze five such stations in. And they honored Mike Doyle (D-PA), who helped make the stations possible.

Doyle helped get the Local Community Radio Act to the desk of President Barack Obama – a bill that eliminated 3rd adjacent channel protection for incumbent FMs and created room on the dial for new LPFM stations.

Free Press and the Prometheus Radio Project gave Doyle the “Community Radio Champion Award” recently in Pittsburgh. Doyle commented, “These days, you turn on the radio and it’s the same song that the other station on the other side of the dial just played that you were trying to tune away from. Or there might be a political diatribe from some blowhard host that makes you want to lock him up in a garage somewhere. As you know, I authored the Local Community Radio act to change all that. And today, I’m excited to announce that, with my new law, and President Obama’s signature, radio will never be the same.”

An article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes that one of the locals very interested in starting a station is a former producer at defunct WTAE-FM. Larry Gerson is the radio pro, and laments the lack of progressive music on the Pittsburgh dial.

Others are extremely concerned about the lack of African-American programming, which disappeared and has not been replaced since WAMO was sold. A similar vacuum is said to exist in the Hispanic field.

Prometheus advisors are touting the stations as making a home for local music, government, sports and other public affairs programming.

RBR-TVBR observation: An LPFM station should have an opportunity to superserve its neighborhood in a way that a full-power general-market station cannot, and serve small idiosyncratic niches that would not make sense for a bigger station.

But if LPFMs become the sole source for local programming – and by that we mean material that would not be heard anywhere else in the world but the station’s home market – then commercial radio in that market is seriously off track and ripe to be defeated by satellite and on-line audio sources.