When was the last time you cranked up the volume on your radio because you heard something new, different or local? Chances are it's been a while. But quality local broadcasting doesn't have to be a thing of the past. Together, we can make it an everyday reality.
Radio is still an incredibly important resource for artists, fans and communities. That's why FMC is involved in the fight to expand non-commercial radio as alternatives to homogenized commercial broadcasting. We believe that radio has the power to inspire, inform and entertain while serving up distinct local and regional flavor. And the musicians we've talked to think so, too.
That's why we're psyched to unveil our "I Support Community Radio" campaign, which features videos of artists talking in their own words about why good local radio is so important. We've got some awesome artists on board so far — Saul Williams, the Indigo Girls, Kronos Quartet, Franz Nicolay of The Hold Steady, Girl in a Coma and Jon Langford — with more on the way. (Interested in being a part of this project? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to submit your own video testimonial.)
One way to put the community back in radio is to lift the unnecessary restrictions on Low Power FM stations in larger American towns and cities. Low Power FM stations are community-based, non-commercial radio broadcasters that operate at 100 watts or less and reach a radius of 3 to 7 miles. LPFM provides a platform for underserved musical genres, minority, religious and linguistic groups and offers a forum for debate about important local issues. (For more info, check out our fact sheet).
The FCC has long supported expanding LPFM, but earlier in the decade, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) – who represent commercial radio interests – successfully lobbied Congress to limit LPFM stations to a mere fraction of the number originally proposed by the FCC.
An independent FCC-commissioned study completed in 2003 found no significant interference would be caused by LPFM — we think it's high time for the government to recognize the important role these stations could play in local communities. And it's looking like they finally might — LPFM has strong bipartisan support in Congress, with the Local Community Radio Act (HR 1147 / S 592) serving as the legislative vehicle to get the airwaves primed for low-power.
The Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet will hold a legislative hearing on H.R. 1147, the Local Community Radio Act of 2009, H.R. 1133, the Family Telephone Connection Protection Act of 2009, and H.R. 1084, the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM Act) on Thursday, June 11, 2009, in 2322 Rayburn House Office Building.
Hey, that's tomorrow!
We'll be attending the hearing and will let you know what goes down. In the meantime, check out those artist videos!