No Power to the People; November 2001; Scientific American Magazine; by Mariama Orange; 1 Page(s)
In January 2000 the Federal Communications Commission, under the administration of then chairman William Kennard, authorized the creation of an exclusively noncommercial low-power FM (LPFM) radio service. By squeezing between existing stations in the FM band, low-power stations would provide local access and diversity to airwaves now dominated by media conglomerates.
That vision, though, has been clouded by LPFM opponents-largely those who already have a license to broadcast. They argue that the new stations would make the already snug FM band too close for comfort, producing unacceptable levels of interference. Their claims have already led the FCC to tighten the specifications on its original LPFM proposal and pushed Congress to pass legislation that severely curtails the number of eligible LPFM slots by 75 to 80 percent. Yet Congress may be reacting more to political pressure than technical data, which suggest that whatever interference LPFM stations generate will be too low to matter.