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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

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