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Radio AM to FM: February 9, 2001

No, the airwaves are NOT yours ...

It appears that the National Association of Broadcasters and National Public Radio has won, while the public at large -- and radio itself -- has lost. Big.

Under pressure from the NAB and NPR, Congress passed a bill restoring interference protections for existing radio stations, protections that were deemed unnecessary by the FCC after extensive testing in preparation for the launch of Low Power FM stations (LPFM). It was one of the last bills signed into law before then-President Clinton left office.

The net effect of the law: LPFM stations will be limited to smaller markets, leaving Southern California with just about no chance to have a 10, 100 or 1000-watt FM alternative to the corporate programming that has essentially killed radio.

Of course the NAB supported the bill. They've been supporting complete deregulation and destruction of our airwaves for years, leading to such things as one company owning over 1000 stations (more than ten percent) in the United States. That NPR fought so hard for this bill is especially troubling, considering that most NPR stations themselves began as low power signals that were regularly authorized by the FCC prior to 1980. Now that they are established, they don't want others to have what they have, so they fought tooth and nail against LPFM authorization.

Remember that next time you are thinking about writing a check to support what is incorrectly known as "public radio" ... NPR spent quite a bundle lobbying for this bill.

So, San Pedro High: you're out of luck. Other groups? Too bad. The big boys were afraid of your competition and made sure you would never be allowed compete ... as if local football games would have made a dent in their budgets.

Time to break up the broadcast monopolies and give the airwaves back to us. We own those airwaves, remember, FCC, NAB and NPR?

You Ask More, We Answer More ...

Q: Is Dr. Demento still on? -- James Gorman

A: Yes, but not here. His syndicated show of novelty songs and parodies can be heard around the country via syndication, but not on any local station. According to the good Doctor himself, the closest affiliates are Ventura and Bakersfield.

However, (and you know there'd be a computer reference here, didn't you?) KOZT/FT. Bragg, CA ( runs the show 9 - 11 pm Sundays and carries it on the internet via RealAudio. Show archives can be found on the Doctor's site,

Home, Prairie

Judith Cunio had a follow up to the Prairie Home Companion problem from last week, writing, " I now listen to PHC on KVCR 91.9 FM from Riverside. It is broadcast every Saturday at 3 PM.

"I would suggest that anyone trying to pick up stations in Pasadena and Riverside make a small investment in an antenna. They cost in the neighborhood of $10 to $60 depending on how many bells and whistles you would like."


Copyright © 2001 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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