I've been thinking about the FCC's recent announcement that they'll be allowing up to 1000 LPFM licenses that have been rotting in the system to go foward and I've been trying to decide, is this good?

I've come to the conclusion that no, it really isn't. Mostly because it's a spin thing... Powell, the FCC chairman, is getting nailed by the public and congress for being too 'big media business friendly'... so he's doing this mostly to counter the (correct) perception that he's anti-local media. When a Scripts newspaper (like the Boulder Camera) does a positive article on pirate radio, as they just did, you know that the FCC's gone too far. This whole LPFM thing is, now at least, a red herring. It's a way of saying: 'hey, we give them a way to get licensed... so the unlicensed guys are just being jerks'.

But, if you think about it, that's just not true. Most of the LPFM license applications that were accepted were from church groups and state highway departments. Now THERE's a great source of diversity in programming eh? And the windows where so tight, and the information so limited, that only people that were very aware it was going on even had the opportunity to move on it. Local groups that would have been great a running a small locally focused radio station did'nt even know it was going on until it was over.

And, of course, nothing's 'opening' for anyone new. If you didn't get your license application in during the windows, you're SOL. No new windows, no new licenses. My bet is ever, and if they do open it again, it'll be years.

And even if we COULD get a license, would the kind of radio we'd be broadcasting be any better than what's there now? If you play a song that has an objectionable word in it, you're subject to a $7000 (per instance) fine from the FCC. If the 'local community' (read: those with money and the loudest voices) don't like your point of view and complain loud enough and contribute enough money to the right politico's.. you're license is going to be up for review damned quickly.

So this gets the philosophical question of... should we even TRY to get a license if the opportunity comes up?

I haven't fully decided on it either way, but I'm struggling to find an up side to it (other than not having to worry about getting a 'knock' on the door from FCC agents someday).



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