It's official: After nearly 10 years on Capitol Hill, the Local Community Radio Act has passed both the House and Senate and now heads for the president's signature. The House approved it Friday (Dec. 17) and the Senate, on Saturday.
Free Press released a statement that said in part, "Woo hoo!"
The law will repeal restrictions on the LPFM (low-power FM) spectrum approved by Congress in 2000 at the request of commercial broadcasters. The restrictions limited the frequencies available to LPFMs to every fourth frequency instead of every third. When low power FM was approved by the FCC in 2000 (Current, Jan. 24, 2000), commercial broadcasters complained that the stations would interfere with their broadcasts. NPR and CPB also opposed LPFM "with gusto," as Current wrote.
The Prometheus Radio Project ("Freeing the Airwaves from Corporate Control") has a complete timeline of the LPFM history here, going back to October 2009.
“We are thrilled that Congress has finally passed legislation that will put the airwaves back in the hands of our communities," said Candace Clement, outreach manager for the Free Press Action Fund. "The Local Community Radio Act will make it possible for hundreds, if not thousands, of new local radio stations to go on the air."