FCC Opens Radio Airways to Small, Nonprofit Local Stations
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Advocates of community radio won an important victory this week when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced it would dismiss a backlog of more than 6,000 pending applications for what are known as translators and open the application process to Low Power FM (LPFM) stations.
Translators are repeater stations that rebroadcast distant radio stations, something commercial radio networks rely on to pull in million-listener audiences. LPFM stations will now have access to the same frequencies previously dominated by the big networks.
Generally speaking, LPFM stations are run by nonprofit groups such as colleges, churches, schools, labor unions and other community organizations, and have a range of 5 to 10 miles.
According to the Prometheus Radio Project, “Low power community stations are non-commercial and cost as little as $10,000 to launch, putting these stations within reach of many communities who have limited access to other media outlets.”
The Local Community Radio Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 7, 2011, but it has taken more than a year for the FCC to sort out the implementation of the law.
To Learn More:
Making Community Radio a Reality (by Candace Clement, SaveTheNews.org)
Release: FCC Decision Opens Radio Airwaves for Communities Nationwide (Prometheus Radio Project)
How to Start a Station (Prometheus Radio Project)
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