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Press Release of Senator Cantwell

Cantwell Shepherds Unanimous Senate Passage of Low Power FM Bill

Legislation will allow FCC to license new community radio stations

Saturday, December 18,2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) shepherded the unanimous Senate passage of the Local Community Radio Act, which will allow a multitude of low power FM (LPFM) stations to obtain broadcasting licenses in communities of all sizes across the country.  Currently, the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) technical rules limit the number of low power FM stations that can practically be licensed in urban and suburban areas. The Act changes these rules, allowing for more LPFM stations to be licensed nationwide, but doing so in a manner that addresses the interference concerns of full-service FM radio stations.
“Today is a day for community radio to celebrate and for America to celebrate community radio. Low power FM stations allow for more viewpoints, community-centered news, and a variety of alternative programming,” said Senator Cantwell.  “For far too long, this legislation has been held up, preventing dozens of stations in my home state of Washington from applying for local low power licenses.  I am pleased that more individuals can now add their voices to the airwaves.”
Cantwell, along with Senator John McCain (R-AZ), sponsored the original Senate version of the legislation.  Cantwell has introduced legislation promoting low power FM stations during the last three Congresses. 
Low Power FM radio stations operate on the FM radio spectrum and provide an affordable alternative to community groups unable to obtain expensive full-power radio station licenses on very scarce broadcast spectrum. With a broadcast range of about 3.5 miles, community groups can provide listeners with localized content and an alternative broadcast outlet.
Full bill text can be found here.