House Passes Local Community Radio Act

Media & Tech 12.17,09

The Local Community Radio Act passed the House of Representatives by voice vote last night and now moves to the Senate. 

Low power FM (LPFM) refers to community-based, non-commercial FM stations that operate at 100 watts or less and have a broadcast reach of only a few miles. There are currently 800 LPFM stations being used by churches, schools, non-profits, and other community groups. These stations provide a local forum for important news and discussions.

However, LPFM is not fully available to many communities across the country because a law passed in 2000 limits the Federal Communications Commission’s authority to license LPFM. The Local Community Radio Act allows the FCC to increase the number of new LPFM licenses.

Citing its longstanding commitment to expanding minority and female ownership in media, The Leadership Conference said in a December 14 letter of support for the bill to the House that “by providing community leaders the opportunity to have a voice on the public airwaves where no such opportunity previously existed, LPFM radio will help promote greater diversity on the public airwaves.”