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January 2nd, 2001

The FCC and LPFM

Radio is, allegedly, designed for the public. They are public airwaves, and people can do whatever they want with said airwaves, so long as one has the proper equipment and abides by FCC rules. But, as in almost every other industry, American radio has become a solid block of corporations. All of the major players are here, including Viacom and ABC, and most have stations all over the nation.

Given that these big companies run the show, the FCC started exploring the possibility of LPFM (low power FM) radio. This would essentially free up the lower end of the dial a bit, geographically-speaking, so more people would have a chance to broadcast and say what they want to say.

Unfortunately, Congress said nuh-uh and sided with the National Association of Broadcasters. The reason is very clear: the corporations were threatened. Their defense was that more stations on same frequencies would mean more interference and more confusion for consumers. Logical, but I highly doubt that newer broadcasters would intentionally choose to go with a popular frequency. Even if one did, the radius of LPFM is rather small… someone spouting off about something-or-other certainly isn’t going to put a dent in the pocketbook of Clear Channel Communications, for instance.

It keeps getting clearer and clearer that there will be a number of corporations who control all channels of information, from radio to the net, and the government will just sit and watch… so long as money from the NAB rolls in. -pm

Posted in Miscellaneous

FROM: Terry Murphy
DATE: Tuesday January 2, 2001 -- 2:02:47AM
The whole premise of this is iffy: how in the world does community radio compete with commercial radio? The author of the linked article is skimp on the details, but seems to believe that the commercial radio stations believe that all of the girls who listen to stations which play Britney Spears are going to jump ship and start listening to the programming typical of community radio: Hungarian flute rain dances, old time Japanese country-western, late 1980's Spanish grungecore, and early period Purcell performed on didjeridoo. The notion that commercial radio is in competition with community radio is simply absurd. I would like a further explanation of why the author believes this.

However, the assertion that NPR is competing with community radio is interesting, and has validity. But you can't use the 'corporate' trump card for that (inasmuch, of course, as the US government is not the richest, most powerful corporation on earth)

FROM: Paul
DATE: Tuesday January 2, 2001 -- 11:09:26AM
Terry, where in the world did you glean that from the article? Nothing therein indicates that the author thinks LPFM will cause tons of people to flock over.

Instead he suggests that more stations mean more competition and that can't be a bad thing; the NAB just decided to up and nip it in the bud before it had a chance.

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 3:03:54 pm

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 3:03:56 pm

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