Watching Congress move to quash the FCC’s new low power FM (LPFM) radio service has been much like watching a train bear down on an unfortunate damsel tied to the tracks.
You knew it was gonna happen, and you knew it would be a nasty sight, but you couldn’t help watching.
And so it happened. On Thursday, the House of Representatives approved a budget bill to fund the Federal Commerce, Justice and State Departments (by an eight vote margin). The U.S. Senate shortly followed suit.
In addition to doling out money to the three government agencies, the bill also contains completely unrelated items, like those restricting the Justice Department from pursuing lawsuits against the tobacco industry and significantly altering immigration laws.
This bill also contains “rider legislation” that will significantly reduce the FCC’s new low power FM radio program. Continue reading “Overtime”

Inside the Smoke-Filled Room

November’s elections are just around the corner, and as the hype on the campaign trail intensifies, Congress is still “at work” in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Senate is hammering out the federal budget; it approves it in pieces, as separate spending bills that lay out just how much each federal government agency gets to spend over the next fiscal year.
Unfortunately, budget bills not only get loaded down with “pork” (extraneous money seen as gifts Congressfolk get for their specific states or districts), they’re also notorious vehicles for politicians to ram laws through Congress that wouldn’t survive the normal approval procedure (like committee meetings, public hearings, etc.). Continue reading “Inside the Smoke-Filled Room”

Trading Shots With the FCC

(Click on images to play video clips)
Enforcement efforts against unlicensed broadcasters have stepped up nationwide. Just two days after recent protests at the National Association of Broadcasters radio convention in San Francisco concluded, Humboldt (CA) Pirate Radio received three visits from FCC agents.
Then, Radio One Austin (TX) was raided by law enforcement and had its station equipment destroyed; and a station in Michigan was sent a letter to stop broadcasting or face the consequences.
mbanna1But the most dastardly blow was the silencing of Human Rights Radio in Springfield, Illinois. Continue reading “Trading Shots With the FCC”

Trading Shots

After thousands of people shook up the National Association of Broadcasters by protesting at its annual radio convention, held in San Francisco last month, spirits were riding high within the newly-created Media Democracy movement.
But after the first open attack on their business and egos, the American radio industry did not take long to counter. It has been a busy past couple of weeks.
On Capitol Hill, the forces of corporate largesse have convinced more than a majority of the Senate to back efforts to cripple the FCC’s new low power FM radio service. Continue reading “Trading Shots”