Office of Communications, Inc.

UCC Media Justice Update

Low Power FM Radio Expands to Whole Country

Today we celebrate the more than decade-long fight to bring low power radio stations to the whole country as originally envisioned by then-Chairman Bill Kennard in 1998.  The United Church of Christ's media justice ministry has been one of the forefront supporters of this effort since that time, as part of our over-50 year old media justice work. 

 Much of the technical decision made today will mean that in most of the largest markets in the country, we will have some opportunities for these small non-commercial radio stations on the FM dial.   Cheryl Leanza, the policy advisor for UCC, OC Inc. said, "In every place that I have travelled around the country for the last 15 years talking about media justice, I see people's eyes light up when they imagine a local radio station filled with positive, local, unique programming that ordinary people control themselves.  I congratulate the Federal Communications Commission on taking the steps needed today to lay the groundwork for applications to be filed next year."


"Now is the time for anyone interested in either applying for a station, or perhaps more important, helping to support a local applicant, to study up and make connections in their own communities," continued Leanza, "UCC's media justice ministry will be reaching out to our churches early next year to be sure that our churches can connect with the Prometheus Radio Project's excellent network of applicants.  Churches might have extra space to loan or lease, programming, or church buildings upon which to place radio towers.  All of these will be important as we build a radio network for justice."


UCC OC Inc. is particularly gratified that the Commission has announced a clear timeframe for applicants to submit their filings, this date will make planning much easier for local non-profits and churches.  Leanza noted her disappointment that there wasn't a local programming obligation in the FCC decision, "many local clergy and religious individuals petitioned the FCC asking for a local programming requirement.  We are happy that applicants offering local programming will be preferred, but that preference is not the same as an obligation to offer some locally-created content."


The faith community as a whole has been extremely supportive of the expansion of low power radio throughout the extended effort it took to pass the Local Community Radio Act.  The UCC has a number of resources about the importance of low power radio, including its documentary The People's Voice, available on vimeo.  The UCC sponsored the Microradio Implementation Project in the early days of low power radio to support applicants.


Categories: low power radio


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