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January 2012
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Archive for January 27, 2012

Occupiers To Retake Peoples Park

Occupy action alert from Ed Fallon

Dear Friends,

I have important, breaking news to share with you:

In response to the decision by City of Des Moines officials to no longer allow Occupy Des Moines to remain at Stewart Square, we will re-occupy Peoples Park (E 7th and Locust) on Sunday, January 29. We’ll meet at Stewart Square Park (E 14th and Grand) at 2:00 pm and march to Peoples Park. Then we’ll hold a General Assembly at our indoor headquarters on the third floor at 504 E Locust.

If you were among the 500 people at the first Occupy Des Moines General Assembly at Peoples Park on October 9, please come. If you weren’t, please come. To reclaim our country from corporate and political corruption, this movement must grow. There have been disagreements, as there are within any movement for social and political reform. Let’s put those behind us as we march back to where things started and plan the next steps.

The City of Des Moines has been reasonable to work with. I wish all public officials took the Occupy Wall Street movement seriously. Unfortunately, as Governor Branstad demonstrated on October 9, he not only chose to ignore the legitimate grievances we raised, he even denied us our right to air those grievances in a public space. We’re willing to give Governor Branstad a second chance, exactly 15 weeks after 35 of us were arrested at Peoples Park.

As a next possible step in redeploying the “occupation” and maintaining pressure on national banks that have acted both unethically and illegally, Occupy Des Moines members are engaged in ongoing discussions about how best to assist individuals who are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure. Stay tuned for more on that.

Spread the word! And PLEASE GO TO THE FACEBOOK PAGE we’ve created to promote this event. Sign up to attend. Share it with others. Let’s speak with one voice that we expect the grievances of the Occupy Wall Street movement be taken seriously. Thank you.



Are You Eligible For Earned Income Tax Credit?

BFIA readers, according to Rep. Dave Loebsack, there were many Iowa families who were eligible, but did not receive the EITC last year.  Let’s help our congressman spread the word to our fellow Iowans about this savings.  Please pass this on.


January 27, 2012

Dear Friend,

I know family budgets are tight right now, and, having been raised by a single mom, I know what it’s like to worry about paying the bills, especially this time of year.  I wanted to send you this short message on Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) awareness day to make sure you’re aware of this tax credit that could save Iowa families money.

The EITC can put up to $5,751 in the pockets of eligible taxpayers (for example, those with earnings under $40,964 for a married couple with two children) with the simple check of a box. In 2011, over 200,000 Iowans claimed the EITC, receiving an average of about $2,000 each. Despite this, 20 percent of eligible taxpayers did not receive their EITC in 2011. That is why I have attended EITC events in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City to raise awareness. I volunteered at these events to help local residents fill out and file their federal income tax returns. If you believe you may be eligible for the EITC, click here to find out more or click here to find a free file site near you.

I hope you will join me in getting the word out about this important tax credit.


Dave Loebsack
Iowa’s Second District




Everything You Need To Know About How To Start Your Own Community Radio Station

In December of 2010 the House and Senate passed the Local Community Radio Act by voice vote in both chambers. Reps. Dave Loebsack (D) and Tom Latham (R) were co-sponsors of this important legislation.  President Obama signed the LPFM act into law on January 5, 2011. 

For everything you need to know about how to apply for a LPFM station in your community, here are some links.   

Start a Radio Station – Prometheus Radio Project   

Pacifica – How to Start a Community Radio Station

Join LPFM Yahoogroup

FCC Report Vindicates Community Radio, Again
Prometheus Radio Project

On January 5, the FCC released a long-awaited report on the economic impact of low power FM (LPFM) stations on their full-power commercial neighbors. The FCC’s report was required by the Local Community Radio Act, in a provision that had long been requested by commercial broadcasters fighting against the expansion of community radio. As expected, the 100+ page study revealed that LPFM stations do not cause harm to other stations.

In the words of the report, “the presenceof LPFM stations has no measurable effect on the economic performance of the average full-service commercial FM station.”

What does this say about the broader impact of LPFM stations? Although they have a neutral effect on other stations, the report includes several conclusions about the positive impact stations have in their communities. The authors note that “LPFM stations appear to be much more likely to carry a variety of programming genres than full-service commercial FM stations.” Instead of subscribing to a single common format, most community radio stations include one or sometimes many genres of music and talk that are otherwise unavailable.

Measuring listenership is difficult because most LPFM stations are located outside the markets rated by Arbitron (though this will change with the passage of the Local Community Radio Act). However, for the LPFM stations that are rated, the report found that many achieved high values of what’s called Time Spent Listening (“TSL”). This rating “suggests that the popular LPFM stations tend to attract a small but loyal fan base, which tunes in for long periods of time and/or switches stations less frequently than the average full-service station listener.”

For community radio producers and supporters, these conclusions will be no surprise. But it’s helpful that the FCC’s own research supports the common-sense notion that community radio serves a greater diversity of listeners and needs than do commercial stations.

To inform the report, Prometheus submitted the results of our LPFM survey data on stations financials as well as earlier formal comments to the FCC. The authors extensively cite both our filings, even referencing what we think is the main point: “Prometheus argues that the premise for the study is flawed because the Commission’s goals would be well served if LPFM stations are providing competition to the radio industry and because incumbents do not have a right to be protected from competition.”

After all, even if LPFM stations did present an economic threat to their neighbors, wouldn’t this be cause for celebration, as commercial stations would be forced to better serve their communities in order to retain listeners? As we noted in our comments, the FCC should not be in the business of protecting incumbent broadcasters from new ones.

The study also mentions our argument that many LPFM stations are reaching new listeners who are otherwise unserved by local media, meaning that stations don’t necessarily draw listeners away from other stations, but rather increase radio listenership in general. For many of us, commercial radio isn’t worth listening to, because it doesn’t reflect our local communities, our language, our politics, or our culture. Expanding community radio may actually increase the viability of FM radio as more people find a reason to tune in.