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Press Release of Senator Cantwell

Cantwell's Low-Power FM Bill Passes in Commerce Committee

Would Create Opportunities for Diverse Voices and Localized Information on the Radio

Tuesday, October 30,2007


WASHINGTON, DC – Tuesday, the Senate Commerce Committee passed U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell’s (D-WA) bill to advance media diversity and increase the number of lower-power non-commercial community-based FM radio stations nationwide.  The Local Radio Community Act of 2007 would create opportunities for new voices on the airwaves and allow local groups and other community-based organizations to provide programming responsive to local community needs and interests.  The bipartisan bill, which passed unanimously, is cosponsored by John McCain (R-AZ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), and Byron Dorgan (D-ND).
“This bill will ensure a wide range of voices are heard on the radio in all media markets, large and small,” said Cantwell, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee. “Low-power FM stations are a welcome addition in the era of mass media consolidation, and communities should have access to all types of views and voices.”
The legislation would instruct the FCC to modify its rules to eliminate third-adjacent channel minimum distance separations for between low-power FM (LPFM) stations and other stations.  It would maintain existing interference protections for radio reading service for the blind, and that licenses are available to both FM translator stations and LPFM stations and licensing decisions are made based on the needs of the local community. Cantwell has worked since 2004 to mitigate the impact of increased consolidation of radio ownership and improve localism.
The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.