An unknown number of Republican Senators have placed a hold on the Local Community Radio Act.
For those not up on the intricacies of our corrupt political system, Senators have the privilege of placing an indefinite pause on action of any legislation they deem to be “detrimental” to their constituents. Oftentimes, Senate holds are used as favors to well-moneyed constituents or as bargaining chips. Continue reading “LPFM Bill Stalled in Senate”
Perhaps it really is “thanks for the memories” when it comes to the issue of network neutrality. In the wake of a federal court decision in May striking down the FCC’s authority to impose neutrality principles on broadband service providers, a well-organized and -funded corporate and astroturf campaign seems to have turned political momentum on the issue around – away from re-implementing the principle as a point of law.
Last month, members of Congress held two closed-door meetings with representatives of the broadband services industries about whether or not to re-write the Telecommunications Act of 1996. A major point of discussion was the principle of network neutrality, and what to do with it. Continue reading “Sending All the Wrong Signals”
Much was made last year of the Local Community Radio Act’s passage in the House of Representatives. But since then, no news: what’s going on?
As you may have heard, most of the telecom-policy wonk-world is all agog with the FCC’s promulgation of a National Broadband Plan. Some have felt, since Chairman Julius Genachowski took the helm of the agency, that he’d be much more focused on “new” media than “old.” This seems to be playing itself out to some degree. Continue reading “LPFM: Thanks For The Memories?”
The first session of the 111th Congress is now in the bag, and with it – temporarily – the hopes of a restoration of the FCC’s low-power FM (LPFM) radio service to its original scale and scope as devised by the FCC in 2000.
The Local Community Radio Act passed the House, but never made it to the Senate floor for a vote. Fortunately, bills only die at the end of the Congressional year, not between sessions; meaning, theoretically, when the Senate reconvenes next month it could quickly hold a vote and send the bill to President Obama for signature. Continue reading “LPFM: Better Luck Next Year”
I was heartened to see that the requisite committees of the House of Representatives and Senate have both endorsed complementary bills that would expand the FCC’s low-power FM (LPFM) service toward votes on the floors of the respective chambers. Those working the issue in D.C. are very optimistic that Congress will pass both versions of the Local Community Radio Act, harmonize them, and send a version to President Obama by the end of this Congressional session.
But it’s not yet time to break out the champagne just yet. There are three reasons for this: Continue reading “LPFM's Elephant In the Room”
In a highly-symbolic yet positive move last week, all five Federal Communications Commissioners told a House oversight hearing on FCC policies whether or not they support the creation of new low-power FM (LPFM) radio stations. The answer was unanimous: “yes, we will.”
So, all that now needs to happen is for Congress to pass the long-languishing Local Community Radio Act (80 cosponsors in the House, and seven in the Senate at last count), and new LPFM stations will bloom like flowers in springtime, right? Continue reading “Congress Supports LPFM, But Will It Move The FCC?”
And the operative word here is, indeed, “hope.” The Local Community Radio Act has been reintroduced in Congress. Honestly, I’ve lost track of the number of times that a bill to undo the 2001 legislative evisceration of the FCC’s Low-Power FM radio service has been put forward; this year it’s come out of the starting gate with more momentum than ever – something like two dozen sponsors in the House (there is no companion bill yet in the Senate).
Media reform groups are putting out the call for the citizen-calvary to flood lawmakers with correspondence asking for quick action on this legislation. While it never hurts to raise the profile of this languishing yet important issue, a reality check is called for as well. Continue reading “More LPFM in 2009? Keep Hope Alive”
A pleasant surprise: last week, during the FCC’s monthly meeting, the Commission was to vote on a disastrous plan to give all AM stations a buttload of FM translators, gratis. However – and somewhat true to form for Chairman Kevin Martin’s tenure – the item was pulled from consideration at the last minute. An unnamed source within the FCC reportedly says this is not just a short-term delay; the FM translator giveaway is not slated to be on October’s agenda, either.
Some trade publication, whose name escapes me now (because I didn’t bookmark to their miniscule blurb on the subject), claims that it is the “forces of LPFM” which have delayed the translator giveaway. Not sure what that’s supposed to mean: the “forces of LPFM” are not nearly as organized as they were just a few short months ago, when they lost their most talented and driven public-interest lobbyist for greener pastures. This is a loss that, frankly, cannot be adequately replaced. Continue reading “FCC Begs Off on Translator-Expansion (for now)”
It appears that the U.S. Senate may be moving toward a floor vote on the Local Community Radio Act. This bill originally began under the auspices of undoing the Congressional fiat in 2001 which severely restricted the promulgation of new low-power FM (LPFM) radio stations. By imposing draconian channel-spacing regulations on the new service, LPFM stations were precluded from being sited in areas of the nation in which 80% of the population lives.
The Local Community Radio Act has been the focus of a seven-year campaign to right this wrong. Most importantly, it would relax channel-spacing rules for LPFM stations (allowing them to be placed in more urban areas) and give LPFM stations a semblance of parity with regard to other classes of FM station. This would make LPFMs less susceptible to being bumped off the air by a larger station looking to move or otherwise modify its own transmission infrastructure. Continue reading “LPFM: Movement in Congress?”
What a difference a weekend makes.
Last week, Congress passed a bill retroactively legalizing and expanding the surveillance of the communications of U.S. citizens. This bill may have unintended and negative effects on the campaign to re-instill the principle of network neutrality as a point of law.
Shortly after Congress’ action, two developments took place: both the Electronic Frontier Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union filed lawsuits against the FISA Amendments Act, challenging its constitutionality on a number of levels. Notably, none of the principals of the media-reform movement have signed onto these legal efforts as of yet. Continue reading “"Glimmer" Downgraded to "Mirage"”