NAB still using misinformation to defeat low-power radio expansion/NAB still using misinformation to defeat low-power radio expansion
One call from you could stop a big corporate lobby group from killing the future of community radio.
For 10 years, a movement of pastors and firefighters, civil rights groups and musicians have fought to put media in the hands of our communities in the form of low power FM (LPFM) radio stations.
These stations saved lives after Hurricane Katrina and have put hundreds of churches, schools, and community groups on the air. In an era when big media puts out pop hits instead of local news, these stations represent the best in our democracy. A bipartisan majority of Senators and Congressmembers are just one step away from passing a bill that could bring them to your town.
But one big media lobby, the National Association of Broadcasters, could kill our chances for our own local neighborhood stations, even though groups on the right and the left all want LPFM. The NAB has blocked the Local Community Radio Act – a bill that would expand low power FM radio to thousands of communities nationwide – by asking Senators to secretly hold it up. And time is running out to pass it this year!
Call Gordon Smith at the National Association of Broadcasters and ask him to get out of the way of low power FM radio and the Local Community Radio Act. You can reach him at 202-429-5449.
You can say something like:
Hi, my name is ________, and I’m a radio listener living in YOUR TOWN, YOUR STATE. The NAB is blocking the expansion of low power FM community radio across the country. NAB President Gordon Smith — please stop blocking LPFM — we need it in our community! Thank you.
Feel free to leave a voicemail if you can’t get through — then email us back at email@example.com to let us know you called.
The NAB tried to kill low power FM radio in 2000, then claimed that tiny radio stations would interfere with big ones 50 times their size. They convinced Congress to keep low power FM out of most communities until the FCC could prove there was room for low power FM everywhere. That proof is out, but the NAB is ignoring it. They’re trying to use their political influence to keep the airwaves all to themselves. And radio matters: Twice as many people get their news from talk radio as from the TV evening news — on all three networks combined.
Communities with low power FM stations have local artists, real political debate, and emergency broadcasts with truly local information. We can’t let one big lobby group kill one of our last chances to own our own airwaves.
Tell the National Association of Broadcasters that you won’t let them kill low power FM without a fight by calling NAB President Gordon Smith at 202-429-5449. Then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know how it went.
Just a few companies own our media, and diversity is long overdue. Rebuilding our economy and winning justice for our neighbor depends on real debate getting out there. If we stop the NAB from killing low power FM, we can build thousands of independent radio stations in our communities. And every independent voice means we’re one step closer to making our society the best it can be.
Thanks for joining us for this fight!
The Prometheus Radio Project
P.S. You can read more about low-power FM radio from our friends at Free Press by clicking here: http://www.freepress.net/lpfm — and if you want to do more, call your Senator and ask them to pass the Local Community Radio Act by clicking here — http://act2.freepress.net/call/lpfm_senate/
NAB still using misinformation to defeat low-power radio expansion
The National Association of Broadcasters has never been a friend to low-power community radio. Back in 2000, when the FCC first created the service, the NAB did everything it could to try and keep it from becoming a reality. While the broadcast lobby failed to stop it outright, the NAB did succeed in getting Congress to significantly curtail LPFM with a last-minute attachment to an omnibus budget bill passed in December of that year. One of the weapons the NAB used was a bogus CD that purported to demonstrate harmful interference caused by low-power stations, that was later disproved by an independent report ordered by Congress.
While the NAB isn’t pushing the interference claim quite as hard this time around, the lobby hasn’t given up on using disinformation. Radio Survivor has obtained an email sent out to unnamed Senators by the NAB on November 30 in which the organization claims that the Local Community Radio Act (S.592) isn’t even necessary to put more LPFM stations on the air. Without explanation or evidence, in the email the NAB claims that,
Currently, thousands of slots are available across the country for new low power stations. The Federal Communications Commission could license these frequencies to any group or organization today, without any change in policy.
Quite simply, that contention is untrue. However, even if there are some unused LPFM-appropriate frequencies in sparsely populated areas, more important is the fact that the Local Community Radio Act aims to permit LPFM stations in cities where there are none, because they are not permitted under the existing, curtailed rules.
Apparently the NAB is using this claim as part of its campaign to get Republican senators to place anonymous holds on the bill, and it seems to be working. Four previously anonymous holders were identified so far this year, and once their names were out in the open, the holds disappeared. At least one good reason for this is that once the Senator placing the hold is known pro-LPFM groups can reach out to him and provide the whole story.
The last one outed was Wyoming Sen. Joe Barrasso, who released his hold a few weeks ago. But there are still more anonymous holds keeping the bill from moving forward for a proper vote by the full Senate.
With less than a month left in this session of Congress time is running out to pass the Local Community Radio Act. The Prometheus Radio Project is asking LPFM advocates to call the president of the NAB, Gordon Smith, and ask him to “please stop blocking LPFM.” His number is 202-429-5449. Prometheus is also asking anyone who calls to let them know how the call went by emailing them at email@example.com.
The full text of the NAB email to senators is after the jump:
Your office may have heard recently from some organizations regarding S.592 – the Local Community Radio Act.
As currently drafted, S. 592 is of concern to your local broadcasters. In an effort to ensure reliable protections against signal interferences, the radio broadcasting industry has been working to ensure modest changes to the legislative language. Despite this, proponents are trying to push the bill through the Senate.
While supporters of S.592 may have expressed a desire for expanding low power radio licenses, please know that there are many other voices in this debate and an expansion of licenses needs to be balanced against existing low and full power operators. Currently, thousands of slots are available across the country for new low power stations. The Federal Communications Commission could license these frequencies to any group or organization today, without any change in policy.
We hope you will keep these facts in mind and the concerns of your local broadcasters as you review this legislation. For more information, feel free to contact the National Association of Broadcasters Government Relations department at (202) 429-7150.