Posts about Low Power Radio
The deregulation of many media sources means that a few powerful corporations control much of our daily information. Since 1975, two-thirds of independent newspaper owners have disappeared. Today less than 275 of the nation's 1,500 daily newspapers remain independently owned, and more than half of all U.S. markets are dominated by one paper. The airwaves are also becoming less diverse. Clear Channel owns more than 1,200 radio stations. Before the deregulation of the airwaves, no single company was allowed to own more than 65 stations.
LPFM provides local, non-commercial and educational radio services, with transmissions extending for about 3 miles. Since 2000, LPFM licensing has been limited to rural areas and small towns. Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have been less willing to provide more licenses to urban communities. Commercial broadcasters complain that LPFM stations in urban areas would cause static and other interference. However, research indicates that these small radio stations would have little to no impact on broadcasting signals from larger radio stations.
Radio CPR, located in Columbia Heights, has struggled for years to obtain a LPFM license. The station was founded by a group of residents in Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights to provide an outlet for various voices and news on issues of concern to the local communities. Programming includes shows devoted to go-go, punk rock, Latin, underground hip hop, soul, afro-pop, as well as community news, women's and health issues, and youth issues. Radio CPR currently operates without a license, putting it at risk of being shut down by the FCC.
WRYR-LP 97.5 FM radio was created as a project of the South Arundel Citizens for Responsible Development as a creative means of reaching out to the Chesapeake Bay communities in Maryland. Unlike Radio CPR, WRYR was granted a LPFM license in 2002. The station aims to educate and assist in the fight against urban sprawl along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.
The potential for LPFM radio in urban areas remains unrealized. According to the Media Access Project, in the top 50 radio markets, urban spaces where small stations can reach many people, LPFM is completely unavailable. The Local Community Radio Act holds the promise to return radio to what made it great: cutting edge music, diverse genres and voices, and local, community-based programming. It's time for Congress to act and open up the airwaves for LPFM stations in urban areas.
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