Thursday, March 19, 2009

Expand Low Power Radio Stations

By Gloria Tristani

While the number of radio stations is growing, ownership is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands due to widespread media consolidation. This means today's radio often offers national playlists, syndicated programming and other piped-in content that threatens localism and the diversity of voices on the public airwaves.

When I was a member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), we established low power radio service in 2000 as a partial antidote to the negative effects of consolidation.

Low power radio (LPFM) makes new licenses available for nonprofit community organizations, churches, schools and local governments.

Low power radio informs people about what is going on in their neighborhood or town; features local musicians and unique programming that reflects the local culture; and breaks from the same homogenized content that have pushed radio listeners away.