Campaign Director, Free Press and SavetheInternet.com
December 19, 2010
The Little Bill That Could
Little noticed but extremely important to progressives, on Saturday afternoon Congress also passed the Local Community Radio Act.
This legislation opens up radio spectrum to hundreds, if not thousands, of local independent radio stations (also known as LPFM).
Its passing will bring new choices and voices on the radio dial nationwide, but is especially relevant to a broadcast area reaching 160 million people who lived in areas where these stations had previously been barred from local airwaves.
Anyone tracking the rise of radio personalities like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage understands the primary political significance of gaining access to spectrum.
With the opening of the airwaves to LPFM stations, progressives can gain a small but consequential spot on the radio dial. The challenge now is to organize local groups to gain access to licenses. Follow and support the Prometheus Radio Project to learn more.
Shaming the lobbyists
This bill would not have passed without the tireless work of a small, but dedicated corps of radio activists who faced down one of the most powerful corporate lobbies in Washington -- the National Association of Broadcasters.
After ten years of pushing and broad-based organizing these activists got broadcasters to yield on Friday.
With the corporate lobby out of the way the bill passed both the House and the Senate in little more than 24 hours.
This is what's possible.