Washington D.C. - U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced today the "Local Community Radio Act of 2005," a bill that would allow additional low power FM radio stations to begin broadcasting, eliminate costly and redundant studies on possible interference from low power FM radio stations to other FM stations, and ensure the availability of radio spectrum for low power FM radio stations.
"While Low Power FM radio stations were authorized five years ago, implementation has been severely hampered by commercial broadcasters' flagrantly exaggerated claims of interference," McCain said. "The most recent obstruction, a two year study conducted at the behest of broadcasters, cost taxpayers over two million dollars and proved what the FCC and community groups have known for years: Low Power FM stations will not cause significant interference to other broadcasters' signals. It is time for broadcasters to stop hiding behind false claims of interference when they are really afraid of the competition from truly local broadcasters."
Cantwell continued: "For five years, large broadcasters have tried to block access for low power FM stations using tired arguments that don't hold up to reality," Cantwell said. "This is an important fight to ensure that these affordable, community-oriented radio stations are allowed access to our nation's airwaves."
Leahy added, "For too long now the number of low power FM stations the FCC could license has been limited by unrealistic and unnecessary rules requiring these smaller stations to search for available frequencies far from any full-power broadcaster. This bill will open up the airwaves to truly local broadcasting while protecting full-power broadcasters from unreasonable interference and preserving important services such as reading services for the blind."
Low Power FM radio stations operate on the FM radio spectrum and provide an affordable alternative to community groups unable to obtain expensive full-power radio station licenses on very scarce broadcast spectrum. With a broadcast range of about 3.5 miles, community groups can provide listeners with localized content and an alternative broadcast outlet.