Archive for June 13, 2009
FCC, Congressmen Stand up for Low Power Radio in Hearing
Congressmen Dave Loebsack (D-2nd District) and Tom Latham (R-4th District) are co-sponsors of H.R. 1147. The bill would allow the FCC to license thousands of Low Power FM community radio stations across the country.
Washington, DC – July 11, 2009 – In a hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, FCC Audio Division Chief Peter Doyle testified on behalf of the Local Community Radio Act (H.R. 1147). Introduced by U.S. Representatives Mike Doyle (PA-14) and Lee Terry (NE-2), the bill would allow the FCC to license thousands of Low Power FM community radio stations across the country.
Four new cosponsors signed onto the bill Thursday, bringing the total to 58 thus far. In his opening statement, Rep. Doyle explained why the bipartisan legislation is so needed:
“In 2000, the Federal Communications Commission started to create new community radio stations, run by local schools, churches, community groups and governments. They did this because their mission from Congress is not to help entrenched lobbies, but to make sure that as many Americans as possible have access to the public’s airwaves to fulfill a basic human need – the right to communicate.
“But responding to broadcasters’ concerns, Congress called time out and asked for an independent study to examine the issue. The premise of Congress’ decision to order the study was that if the study confirmed the FCC’s findings, Congress would remove its prohibition on the FCC, and allow it to fully implement community radio. The study came back, agreed with the FCC that these stations can be created without harming listeners. And through two unanimous, bipartisan votes, the FCC has twice now recommended that Congress do so. I am asking Congress to keep its part of the bargain.”
The Congressional subcommittee members present at the bill responded favorably to the bill in their comments and questions. Chairman Rick Boucher, on behalf of a public radio station in his home district, questioned FCC Audio Chief Peter Doyle about the impact of low power radio on public radio translators. Chief Doyle addressed his concerns by pointing to 73.827 of the FCC Regulations, which give input signals of translators full protection.
Also testifying on behalf of low power radio was Cheryl Leanza, representing the United Church of Christ, the Prometheus Radio Project, and the more than 200 radio stations of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters.
“This is radio that speaks directly to the questions and concerns of the day, unfiltered through large corporate entities or boardroom decisions,” said Leanza. “Instead, community organizations and volunteers put blood, sweat and tears into the daily effort of bringing the culture, news, and local events to their towns and neighborhoods.”
Concluding the hearing, Rep. Doyle stated, “Mister Chairman, we need to make sure that more Americans get a chance to exercise their voice. We must pass my bill this year, and we must bring low power to the people.”
A video of Congressman Doyle’s statement can be seen on YouTube
A video of Congressman Doyle questioning witnesses at the hearing about the Local Community Radio Act can be seen on YouTube