President Obama signs a stack of legislation, including the low-power radio bill, on Tuesday. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
“I have been waiting for this day for a long, long time.”
So says FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps, reacting to the signing of the Local Community Radio Act, which will allow more low-power FM stations onto the dial.
“Enactment of the Local Community Radio Act gives local radio stations, grassroots media and consumers nationwide genuine cause to celebrate,” he wrote, after President Obama signed the bill.
“In this day of way-too-much media consolidation, stifling program homogenization and the decimation of local news, new voices are critically important to sustaining America’s civic dialogue and citizen engagement.”
Chairman Julius Genachowski, like Copps a Democrat, called the legislation “a big win for radio listeners. Low-power FM stations are small, but they make a giant contribution to local community programming.”
Both saluted lawmakers who helped pass the bill, particularly Reps. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), and Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.)
Genachowski promised, “The FCC will take swift action to open the dial to new low-power radio stations and the valuable local service they provide.”
Danielle Chynoweth, director of strategic planning at the Prometheus Radio Project, called the law “an opportunity for radio professionals and enthusiasts to help revitalize the radio dial. Low-power FM stations bring new voices, new formats and new communities to the art of broadcasting.” She encouraged volunteers interested in helping the effort to sign up at the group's website.