A step forward for low-power radio station in urban areas

    For the past 10 years, low-powered radio stations have operated outside of the country’s top 50 markets in order to prevent interference with larger commercial stations.

    Hundreds of new low-power non-commercial radio stations are one step closer to broadcasting in urban areas for the first time.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091217mpradio.mp3]

    For the past 10 years, low-powered radio stations have operated outside of the country’s top 50 markets in order to prevent interference with larger commercial stations.

    The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Local Community Radio Act – which would allow new non-commercial stations to apply for licensing in urban areas. The bill includes a provision that requires the 100-watt stations to resolve interference issues individually if they occur.

    Halimah Marcus is with the Prometheus Radio Project in Philadelphia, which lobbied for the bill. She says she is thrilled to see the bill making progress.

    Marcus: When this bill passes, it’s going to revolutionize radio. It allows regular neighborhood people to access the airwaves and have their own community radio stations that are going to respond and reflect to the individual needs of their community and there’s gonna be hundreds and hundreds more across the country.

    The bill now moves to the Senate floor for a final vote.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.