You can apply for a radio license
Since last summer the FCC has been accepting applications for low power FM (LPFM) licenses in groups of states. People in each group of states have to file their application during a five day "filing window." The FCC has just announced that the last the filing window for 100 watt stations (see below for info. On 10 watt stations) will occur on June 11-15, 2001
Does your community need better radio? Are you doing good work and good organizing, and want to get your message out? Are you tired of nothing but top 40 music? Do you and your neighbors want to know what is going on in your town or neighborhood? Have you ever thought about operating your own radio station to share your work with others in your community?
In this age of media consolidation, where a handful of corporations own most of the media outlets, most towns could use a breath of fresh air! Community radio is an exciting way to share and innovate ideas, create learning opportunities for youth, and nurture local culture. You can broadcast in any language and share a million ideas. The possibilities are endless.
Early last year the FCC adopted rules creating a new Low Power FM service (usually called "LPFM"). These new rules allow small non-profit groups, libraries, churches and community organizations to apply for licenses to operate simple, inexpensive local radio stations. Individuals cannot apply for licenses, but any non-profit group can apply, from your local chapter of ACT-UP, to the NAACP, to the Rotary Club. (And non-profit means set up for non-profit purposes, an IRS tax exemption is not necessary). A new community radio station can go on the air for just a few thousand dollars. Compared that to the millions of dollars routinely paid to operate radio station in today's' market.
WHAT CAN WE DO WITH AN LPFM STATION?
LPFM stations will be noncommercial and inexpensive, with signals best suited for "narrowcasting" to neighborhoods or small cities. The potential uses of LPFM radio are so numerous we can't possibly list them all -- they're limited only by the imagination and ingenuity of LPFM applicants.
Here are a few:
• providing local radio service to small cities, large and small towns, and neighborhoods
• providing information to union members at a large industrial plant or discussing controversial local issues
• presenting music and culture not heard on _top 40_ radio or NPR
• broadcasting in languages not heard anywhere else on the radio dial
• training students or community residents in radio broadcast techniques
• providing church services to shut-ins
• letting your community know what activist actions and campaigns your groups are undertaking.
• offering nontraditional radio formats, such as political talk, poetry, blues, jazz, classical, polka, reggae, soca, hip-hop or old school
LPFM is intended to provide an alternative to the often homogeneous, non-controversial, non-local programming that dominates the airwaves today.
The licenses are not hard to apply for, and the application is free. Do not let your organization miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Call us to obtain hard copies of the filing guides or see our website (www.nlgcdc.org) to download the documents.
Since last summer the FCC has been accepting applications for low power FM (LPFM) licenses in groups of states. People in each group of states have to file their application during a five day "filing window." The FCC has just announced that the last the filing window for 100 watt stations (see below for info. On 10 watt stations) will occur on June 11-15, 2001. Those states are :
U.S. Virgin Islands
For more information on how to apply, please contact the Lawyers Guild Center For Democratic Communication at http://www.nlgcdc.org/, or email us at email@example.com, you can also call me at (415) 546-6334 x310.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION RE MICRO RADIO/LPFM:
What is Low Power FM Radio? How much will it cost? How Can we Apply? When...
What: After more than ten years of civil disobedience, law suits and public pressure, the Federal Communications Commission agreed to license non-commercial 10 to 100 watt low power FM radio stations for activist and community groups, among others. It means you can now have access to the airwaves to broadcast your own news, information, community concerns, music and non-commercialized culture, as well as forums and discussions on a wide range of topics not touched by commercial radio, or even non-commercial (but underwritten) NPR. You can do this throughout the FM band.
A LPFM Stations' broadcast area is based on 1) what space on the FM dial is available, 2) terrain of your area. Audio reach for a 100 watt station can be anywhere from 3 to 15 miles, probably less in metro areas saturated by radio signals, more in the rural areas. The cost of putting a LPFM station on the air can be as little as $2,000.
Why: The commercialized nature of broadcasting in the U.S., made worse by the consolidation of the airwaves to only about 10 media conglomerates in recent years, has homogenized programming formats and eliminated local news and information. Even public radio offers content, often from a mainstream point of view, with national perspectives and little outlet for local communities.
Who: Community groups, Activist Organizations of all types, Union Locals, African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Pacific Asian & Islander, South East Asian, all racial & ethnic groups, language specific communities , migrant farm workers, immigrant & refugee communities, theatre groups, environmentalists, social service organizations Independent musicians & DJ's · community leaders · media activists senior citizens, youth of all ages, civic clubs, libraries, schools & universities, community tutoring for students, reading services for the visually impaired & physically challenged people.
Who can't: Current broadcast licenses or parties with interests in other media—cable or newspapers—are not eligible for LPFM stations.
How: The application for LPFM liceneses is fairly easy (at least by government standards) and we can assist you with information, technical expertise, and references to other radio savvy groups. Call us to obtain hard copies of the filing guides or see our website (www.nlgcdc.org) to download the documents.
Terms: LPFM stations will be licensed exclusively to local entities for the first two years. Later, non-local entities will be eligible for licenses. Each licensee organization can own only one station in any given community. Licensees will be subject to the same character qualifications as are currently applied to full power licensees. and will need to comply with FCC broadcast rules and regulations.
What if you apply for the same frequency as other groups? If mutually exclusive (competing) applications are received for LPFM frequencies, the issue will be resolved through the award of points for 1) established local presence of at least two years, 2) propose 12 hours of service, of which 8 hours are locally originated programming. — not filled with canned productions and nationally syndicated programs already on the air. 3) 75% of board members live within 10 miles where the LPFM tower will be situated. The point system will encourage competing applicants to collaborate with others.
Costs: Depending on the sophistication of the technology and the quality of studio and broadcasting equipment used, set-up costs will run from $2,000 to a max of about $10,000.
FIRST STEPS IN PLANNING
_ Check background and how-to-apply documents on our web page (www.nlgcdc.org) and on others linked there.
_ You may want to review the types of applications submitted in the first three windows from at least 30 states to get an idea of the various ways folks are planning to use LPFM: FCC website: www.fcc.gov.
_ Find out if there is a viable frequency in your area. You'll need to recheck the availability 30 days before you submit application.
_ Organize an LPFM workshop. We can provide or arrange for knowledgeable resource people
_ Design the infrastructure to enable the station to develop and the programming to be consistent. This means content policies and operating principles.
_ Secure advice and counsel from someone experienced, possibly a communication lawyer, an experienced local radio engineer, and local radio folk.
_ Develop a support base in your community.
add a comment on this article