Washington - Oct 8, 2009 - The Local Community Radio Act was passed out of the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet on Oct. 8, 2009, in a 15 to 1 vote. The Act would allow for the creation of hundreds of new, low power FM (LPFM) radio stations that would broadcast community news and local perspectives to neighborhoods across the country.
While big broadcasters have opposed the Local Community Radio Act, claiming that LPFM could cause interference to full power stations, that concern was later disproven by a Congressionally mandated study.
The bill gained the support of former doubters of LPFM, including Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), a former lead co-sponsor of anti-LPFM legislation and ranking Republican on the subcommittee, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), the only former broadcaster in Congress, and Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), who called for the study of LPFM interference in 2000.
Hundreds of groups -- including schools, churches, and emergency responders -- were denied licenses in 2000 after Congress blocked the FCC from handing them out in crowded media markets.
The Local Community Radio Act will now move to the full Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by longtime LPFM supporter Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA).