Who Hijacked Our Country

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

FCC allows Hundreds of New Low-Power FM stations

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made a decision yesterday which paves the way for hundreds of new community radio stations to start broadcasting on low-power FM signals.  This is excellent news.  More stations, more competition, more jobs — right?

A few giant broadcasting conglomerates — e.g. Clear Channel — have been strangling the “public” airwaves for years, with the same five songs played over and over and over and the same talk radio inbreds spewing their bilge in every square inch of the country.  In a lot of non-urban areas, radio listeners’ “choices” come down to just one or two mega-corporate stations.  You can listen to either Rush Limbaugh OR Laura Ingraham — your cup runneth over.

And now, finally, listeners will have some REAL choices.  The Prometheus Radio Project has been pushing for this FCC ruling, and now it’s a reality.  The Prometheus Radio Project’s policy director said:

“These new, low power stations can only be licensed to non-profit organizations, and you can only have one per customer.  That way we won’t have these big corporate chains and media networks that are taking over the rest of the media landscape moving in on low power FM service. These stations have to be local, and they have to be independent. This clears the way for a real transformation of the FM dial.”

Works for me.

And there’s more good news from the FCC:  This isn’t a done deal yet, but the FCC is planning to create a website that will publicize TV stations’ records of which political groups purchased ads on each station and how much they paid.   Rep. John Dingell said:

“We desperately need openness.  We’ve got a bunch of billionaires and millionaires who are pouring millions of dollars into the elections of this country, and to these super-PACs, with nobody having the vaguest idea of who they are, what they’re up to, what they want or what would be the consequences of it.’’

A spokesperson for the Campaign Legal Center said providing this information online would “reveal the true interests behind the purchases.”

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Blogger J. Marquis said...

That's awesome news.

March 20, 2012 at 3:40 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

I think it's pretty good news too! I wonder what percentage of the new stations will be taken up by Christian broadcasting, though.

March 20, 2012 at 8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deja Vu

Brings back when I was in college and the 7 and 7 rule was the law of the land. For those who don’t remember, no one could own more then 7 radio and 7 TV stations in the land and no more then one each in any market. It meant (for those who remember) local stations with local employees that had to respond to the wishes of the local community.

Back then I found out the FFC was going to lease out thousands of low band frequencies for those who wanted to start small community stations. It was my plan, I would going to take out a loan after graduation, get a frequency and start a radio station, work 60 hours a week on the air, maybe employ two or three people tops, and do well, not rich (no way could you be rich).

While I was working on it, Reagan became president and “deregulated” broadcast. Now just a couple of corporations (including the Mormon Church) own all the stations in the country. They no longer have to be rsponsible to their community. Many of them are just branch offices in your area, taking Ad money, keeping an eye on the transmitter (repeater really) and feeding the programming from the national office. As everything centralized, Employment actually went DOWN.

Nostalgia: some of us may remember the old equal time rule, which meant if someone made a political statement on air, the station had to provide free time for another point of view (especially if that first point was false or misleading). It kept politics more honest back then. That’s why Rush Limbaugh calls his show an entertainment show, he was trying to get out of being challenged all of time for his stupid political gaffs by calling it an entertainment show, rather then the political show it really is. They were getting ready to come down on him when Reagan took out the equal time rule and saved his ass. Now he (and others) can say anything they want not having to worry about if it’s factual or not and not having to provide the equal time.

Now they are finally doing it again, and I’m too old to commit that type of energy.

Better late them never


March 20, 2012 at 9:45 PM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...


I was, for a short while in the early 1980s, a contributor to a pirate radio station with a range of about 10 miles. We figured out how to tune up one of those Radio Shack FM transmitters (a lot of copper wire, a couple of insulators, and a few parts borrowed from a ham box) and we put on a show, every night, for a few months. I used to be delighted to walk into the game room or the pizza place and hear people talking about what they'd heard the night before (I altered my voice fairly significantly for my broadcasts, and wrote stuff for other people to read on the air as well.)

March 20, 2012 at 10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I remember during the CB fad, some people also tried to start their own CB radio stations.

I'm also a HAM


March 20, 2012 at 11:11 PM  
Blogger Mr. Charleston said...

This has been coming about for over 20 years now, but I'm afraid it's too little to late. Nobody listens to radio anymore except in their cars, maybe. Listener-ship, across the board, is way down. The internet and pod casts have changed the landscape.
Anonymous is totally correct, it was the Reagan administration that allowed foreign ownership of American media and gave birth to Rupert Murdoch, public enemy #1.

March 21, 2012 at 6:43 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Yeah Reagan screwed us so much more than Woodrow Wilson.

March 21, 2012 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

J: It sure is.

Snave: Hopefully not too high a percentage.

Erik: Yup, those were the days. I hope this FCC ruling will do a small part toward reversing this 30-year trend. Better late than never anyway.

JR: That's really cool. Sounds kind of like the movie "Pump Up The Volume" where Christian Slater was a pirate DJ.

Mr. C: I personally hardly ever listen to the radio, but I didn't know whether that's a national trend or just me. I listen mostly to YouTube videos, CDs and tapes that I've recorded off the radio over the last few decades.

March 21, 2012 at 5:24 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

I agree with you Lisa, Reagan screwed us lots worse than Woodrow Wilson ever did. ;-)

March 21, 2012 at 8:08 PM  

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