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.
Although the FCC itself recently revised the LPFM rules out of political pressure to further protect established radio stations from concerns about potential interference, the unholy alliance of the National Association of Broadcasters and National Public Radio now smell blood in the water.
The FCC’s attempt at peacemaking was rejected out of hand by NPR; the NAB ignored it. And with good cause: the nation’s radio and television stations have contributed more than $6 million to this year’s political candidates – that is twice as much as has been spent in any election during the last 10 years.
Looking over the list of top broadcast donors, it’s not hard to see why the U.S. Senate will attach an anti-LPFM bill to a government spending measure over the next week or two. Such a move is a backhanded way of stifling diversity on the airwaves, but hey, that’s politics as usual.
A last-minute reprieve is not likely from the White House. If a “killer amendment” is attached to a multi-billion dollar spending bill, the president is unlikely to veto it. In the grand scheme of national politics, when compared to large amounts of goverment spending, losing LPFM carries no political fallout. Why be afraid of the voices that can’t yet speak?