Thu, 16 December 2010
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
The answer to monotony and monopoly on your radio dial is not for profit low power FM community radio. Wealthy and powerful corporate interests have bought judges, regulators and legislators by the bag, and used them to block the people's will for more choice and more power over how the people's airwaves are used. In the last days of the current Senate, S-592, which will authorize the FCC to grant licenses to thousands of community broadcasters hangs by a thread.
Call Your US Senator – Last Chance for Low Power Community Radio, S- 592
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
“Now, after lingering on the horizon a full ten years, the possibility of thousands of new low-power FM stations looms again...”
Imagine for a moment that it's technically feasible to place community-owned, not for profit low power FM radio stations in between the corporate broadcasting behemoths that now rule the radio dial. With broadcast footprints of only a few miles apiece, these new low power stations could offer a range of local news, public affairs programming, real music and accessibility that might revolutionize the listening experience for millions.
Imagine a president pledged to sign that law, and it passing U.S. Senate, only to be held up in the House, where the National Association of Broadcasters spread bogus technical objections and lots of campaign contributions to block it. That president was Bill Clinton and the year was 2000. During the Bush administration the powerful NAB dug into its deep pockets again and again to stall low-power community radio. Now, after lingering on the horizon a full ten years, the possibility of thousands of new low-power FM stations looms again. This time low power legislation has passed the House. Once again, the National Association of Broadcaster has bought and paid for a tiny minority, a handful of key senators, who have used the arcane rules of the U.S. Senate to place a “secret hold” S-592, low-power FM radio bill.
In a moment I will give you the number to call your US Senator to demand that they support the choice and accessibility on the radio dial that thousands of new nonprofit low power FM stations will bring. Get a pencil or pen, or whip out your cell phone to record that phone number.
Everybody knows that S-592 will certainly pass the senate this year if the Senate is allowed to vote on it. On the left and on the right, grassroots community forces in every states and city across the country can become broadcasters through low power FM radio. Although the broadcast airwaves nominally belong to the people, the NAB's senators intend to frustrate and block the people's will. This is a time for action. If there was ever a moment to call both the US Senators from your state and express your direct democratic desire to them, this is it. This is the final chance for low-power FM radio in the current Senate. If it doesn't pass now, it has to make its way through the House of Representatives all over again.
Call the US Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, that's (202) 224-3121 to find your Senators and demand that they support the low-power community radio S-592. The answer to monotony and monopoly on your radio dial is low power FM radio. It's broadcast power to the people, not the corporations. (202) 224-3121 to ask for the two senators from your state TODAY. That's (202) 224-3121, and ask them to bring S-592 to the floor and pass it. Don't delay.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, and check us out every weekday morning for your cup of the Black Agenda Morning Shot.
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report. He's based in Atlanta and is a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party. You can reach him at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.