Early this morning, Free Press announced the introduction of a new bill in both the House and Senate that would remedy legislation from 2000 which prevented low power FM stations from obtaining licensing in major media markets. The Local Community Radio Act of 2007 has achieved bi-partisan support and is sponsored by Reps. Mike Doyle (D-Penn.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.) in the House, and Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the Senate.
With media consolidation at an all-time high and Clear Channel dominating the airwaves, the vital role of local radio programming is being eroded away. Five years ago a train derailed in Minot, North Dakota and thousands of gallons of dangerous chemicals were released into the environment; many people were injured and one person died. The commercial radio stations in the area were all owned by Clear Channel and none of them carried any advisories about the disaster. Low powered FM stations will ensure that local information will be readily accessible amongst a landscape of national stations.
According to Congressman Mike Doyle, "Diverse, informative, thought-provoking, locally oriented programming has been dramatically restricted across the country by the current federal laws governing the separation between broadcast frequencies. Enactment of this legislation would improve the quality of life in communities across the country by providing new and different programming ? and especially programming addressing local interests and events ? to these communities."