Low Power Radio Continues to Move Through the U.S. House

Date: 12 Oct 2009 | posted in: information, MuniNetworks | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

The Local Community Radio Act (HR 1147) has passed the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet with a strong 15-1 vote. It is now moving back to the parent committee – the Commerce Committee.

This bill has strong grassroots support – with many diverse groups in support. The United Church of Christ has a media-justice advocacy arm that strongly supports the bill.

"Expanding low-power radio is a concrete step toward a more just society," said Andrea Cano, OC Inc. Board member and former director of the UCC’s Microradio Implementation Project. "These stations give voice to the voiceless."

Low-power radio stations are small FM radio stations that serve a geographic area with a radius of 5 to 7 miles. They are non-commercial stations that can be obtained by community groups, churches, schools and other non-profits. Currently there are about 800 radio stations on the air.

A Senate companion bill awaits action by the Commerce Committee. Nonetheless, supporters are jazzed over the subcommittee victory:

Legislation to expand LPFM has never come this far in Congress, despite being introduced in the past three terms. At this morning’s hearing, three representatives who previously expressed doubts about the bill, voiced their support. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the only former broadcaster in the committee, and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), one of the original co-sponsors of the legislation that limited LPFM 10 years ago, both endorsed the Local Community Radio Act this morning.

For more information, visit Prometheus Radio.

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Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. He runs MuniNetworks.org as part of ILSR's effort to ensure broadband networks are directly accountable to the communities that depend upon them.