Low Power Radio Bill Introduced in Congress

In an effort to combat media consolidation and stave off the death of community, both the House and Senate have introduced a bill that would pave the way for low power FM radio stations to develop throughout the country.

Josh Wolf
Josh Wolf first became interested in the power of the press after writing and distributing a screed against his high school's new dress code. Within a short time, the new dress code was abandoned, and ever since then he's been getting his hands dirty deconstructing the media every step of the way. Wolf recently became the longest-incarcerated journalist for contempt of court in U.S. history after he spent 226 days in federal prison for his refusal to cooperate. In Media sphere, Josh shares his daily insights on the developing information landscape and examines how various corporate and governmental actions effect the free press both in the United States and abroad.
Josh Wolf
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."