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Low Power FM gets backing of new FCC Commissioners

Mike Doyle with some kind of robot that hopefully will get Congress to pass his LPFM bill.

Rep. Mike Doyle (second on left) with some kind of robot that hopefully will get Congress to pass his Low Power FM bill.

Congressmember Mike Doyle (D-PA) came to today’s House Commerce subcommittee hearing on the Federal Communications Commission with a question posed to all the new Commissioners. “Do you recommend that Congress lift the restrictions on LPFM stations—the so-called ‘third adjacent protections’?”

“Based on what I know, yes,” new Chair Julius Genachowski quickly replied. “Yes,” responded new Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. “Yes,” somewhat faintly declared her new Republican colleague Meredith Attwell Baker.

“Ok! It’s unanimous, Mr. Chairman,” Doyle happily announced. “Thank you very much. It is my hope that our esteemed Chairman will allow us to do a markup and pass this legislation soon.” That would be Commerce Committee Chair Rick Boucher (D-VA).

The legislation in question is H.R.1147 – Local Community Radio Act of 2009, which would eliminate the tough restrictions on setting up Low Power FM stations that Congress slapped on the service in 2000. There’s a parallel bill in the Senate sponsored by Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and co-sponsored by John McCain (R-AZ).

“We are very pleased that the Commission has again voiced their support for this important bill, which would allow community radio to expand into thousands of towns, cities and neighborhoods throughout the US,” declared Cory Fischer-Hoffman, Campaign Director at the Prometheus Radio Project in a statement sent to us.

The problem is that this is the third time that the FCC’s Commissioners have unanimously pledged allegiance to this worthy cause. A 2003 study showed that LPFMs don’t interfere with full power stations at the third adjacent channel. Yet no bill ever gets to the Presidents’ desk.

It is unclear to us who has to get a head noogie for this law to go forward, but here at Radio Survivor we’ve got at least thirty knuckles ready for the task.

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