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FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel champions radio and LPFM to the Future of Music Summit

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel

In her Tuesday keynote address to the Future of Music Summit, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel emphasized the still relevant role of radio in her remarks about the relationship between the music industry and the work of the Commission. First, she revealed that her brother is a professional bongo player, as a percussionist for the alt rock band Guster. Because of this relationship she said “I have watched the music industry up close through his eyes.”

Rosenworcel reviewed the challenges that “the digitization of everything” has posed to music making and musicians that were certainly very well known to the summit attendees. “Big unruly challenges,” she called them “remaking the ways we create and distribute content.” This is why “the principles of open internet” are important, but uncertain because the FCC’s rules are under court review.

But she also made a big point to champion broadcast, claiming “radio airplay is still important” for music. She told a brief history of low-power FM, beginning with its creation and how the Congress “passed legislation delaying the growth of LPFM” in 2000. As a staff person on Capitol Hill Rosenworcel said she worked on the issue of restoring LPFM over the course of three Congresses. But, “tenacity has some rewards,” and now that LPFM has been restored she said at the FCC “we want to get it right.”

Zydeco station KOCZ-LP in Opelousas, LA and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s KPYT-LP southeast of Tucson, AZ are two stations that Rosenworcel named as examples of the kind of unique local service LPFM can now provide to the top 50 radio markets.

In closing, Rosenworcel cited the fact that 90% of the US population over the age of 12 still listens to radio. That’s more people than the two-thirds of households that have broadband.


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