Proof Radio No Longer Matters

Proof Radio No Longer Matters

Proof radio no longer matters: Congress finally passed the Community Radio Act authorizing broadcasting by more low power FM (LPFM) nonprofit stations. After a decade of stalling it by making proponents jump through hoops, the broadcast lobby now applauds the act’s passage. Broadcasters and publishers are simply too busy working the hyper-local Web and cell phone angles, and figure no one listens to radio if they aren’t driving anyway. Even community radio blogs seem more concerned with Net Neutrality than this long-running radio issue.

Versions of the Community Radio Act have been introduced since 2002, with support from across the political spectrum and from church and community groups, but broadcasting lobbyists were able to stall it by positing imaginary technical concerns which required extensive and unnecessary testing. The broadcasting industry is no longer concerned with the low-powered competition; they’re more interested in squatting on as much bandwidth as possible for later sale when true digital radio becomes a reality. Digital broadcasting requires less bandwidth, so the surplus capacity can be auctioned off to cell phone giants and others for big bucks. While the airwaves theoretically belong to the U.S. public, that notion has been a polite fiction since the Reagan administration.

More:

“Christmas Comes Early For LPFMs,” Harry Cole, CommLawBlog.com

“The Local Community Radio Act Demystified,” Prometheus Radio Project

“Finally, Local Community Radio Act Was Passed Saturday. Time For A Media Revolution!” Susie Madrak, Crooks & Liars

“‘Thousands’ of New LPFMs? Bill Awaits Obama,” Radio World.

“Passage of Community Radio Bill Caps 10 Year Campaign for Media Access Project Clients, Allies,” Media Access Project

“Bill changing LPFM spacings but protecting FM stations passes Congress – after NAB assures more protections to broadcasters,” David D. Oxenford, Association of Corporate Counsel

“WE WON! Senate Joins House in Passing the Local Community Radio Act! ” Prometheus Radio Project

“Local Community Radio Act Passes in Congress,” Amy Goodman, Democracy Now

 

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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2 Responses to “Proof Radio No Longer Matters”

  1. bill croghan Says:

    Your proof that radio no longer matters is supported by the fact that there is so much clamoring for additional stations on the air. Seems contradictory. As a long time broadcast engineer, and multiple commentator in the original LPFM ruling, I find this ludicrous. OF course commercial operations fought it, we don’t want the competition. I’m personally aware of several well done LPFM’s that are still going strong, but more familiar with the failures, the dillatantes that thought they had something to say and couldn’t sustain it, the illegals who quickly started running more power and antenna than permitted, the “local” phonies, who were fronts for other groups, often churches and the tons who never got on the air in the first place. If radio no longer matters, why are so many trying to get in to it to get their word out?
    Bill

  2. Mike Licht Says:

    bill croghan wrote: OF course commercial operations fought it …

    So why did they stop? Because the game is no longer worth the candle, as per the post above.

    we [commercial broadcasters] don’t want the competition.

    Then improve content instead of consolidating through repetitious syndication. Boring content is bad for the whole medium, not just the individual conglomerates providing it.

    dilettantes … thought they had something to say and couldn’t sustain it

    … and, unlike big commercial providers, they can’t afford the cost of disguising repetition through endless theme-and-variation. And many new nonprofit efforts run out of steam, not just LPFM stations. Of course, most for-profit small businesses fail in a couple of years, so this may be a function of scale.

    illegals who quickly started running more power and antenna than permitted

    Pirates proliferated during the ten-year “blockade” which froze LPFM licenses. The FCC, like most government regulatory agencies, doesn’t have much manpower to enforce compliance. As more legit LPFM stations come on line, perhaps they will self-police for their own protection.

    “local” phonies, who were fronts for other groups, often churches

    Right you are. This will continue to be an issue. Look out for religious syndicators using LPFMs as repeaters.

    the tons who never got on the air in the first place.

    Less of an issue now that the freeze is over

    If radio no longer matters, why are so many trying to get in to it to get their word out?

    Everybody needs a hobby. No, really, that’s a very good question. Perhaps because it’s a way to reach non-readers in a geographically-limited area. That means neighborhood- and ward-level activists, and radio beats knocking on doors and robocalls.

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