"Communication by wire and radio so as to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States..."
The above text is from Section 151 of the Communications Act (47USC151) which in 1934, established the Federal Communications Commission. Unfortunately, due to recent news reports, it seems that the former Commission under the first reign of Baby Bush seems to have forgotten that it is their obligation to provide as far as possible communication by wire and radio to all of the people of the United States.
We are very appalled of the recent news reports that we have been hearing about a certain report that was prepared at the request of the FCC on localism was destroyed and not entered into the record. The report had proven what we have known all along. That locally owned stations are more capable of producing local news than a station that is owned and operated (O&O) by a large network or at that, a large TV owner such as Sinclair.
In a letter to Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), current FCC Chairman Kevin Martin stresses that he was not at the Commission at the time of the report and neither him or his staff has seen this report. The FCC made a copy of the June 2004 Draft of Working Paper available on their website.
REC will support efforts to extend the comment period in MB Docket 06-121 to allow time for this report to be analyized and comments prepared by the various parties. This information is too important to be overlooked.
REC contines to be concerned that while what could happen with the localism proceedings and hearings could trickle down into radio, we are deeply concerned that this discussion is more television centric. While it is important that we keep diversity in our television voices, we need to assure that both the Commission and the general public is spending as much time to address radio issues.
We continue to ask that the FCC also looks at non-commercial educational (NCE) radio where it comes to localism. In the past our comments on these issues have been dismissed by the FCC as "out of scope" and we need to bring it on the table. Organizations like EMF (K-Love & Air1), Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls as well as alleged business such as Edgewater/Radio Assist Ministries currently hold many broadcast licenses, some programming originates from over 3,000 miles away. REC will continue to push for NCE reform on station ownership.
A part of localism is the expansion of the Low Power FM (LPFM) service as well as a creation of a Low Power AM (LPAM) service, especially in areas where LPFM is not available.
Please stay tuned to the grassroots organization of your choice for more information and developments.