From the Worldwide Faith News archives

UCC - Low Power Radio Bill on way to Becoming Law

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Fri, 18 Dec 2009 14:35:20 -0500

After 10 years, low power radio bill on its way to becoming law

Written by Gregg Brekke
December 17, 2009

The UCC's media-justice advocacy agency, the Office of Communication,
Inc., is heralding the anticipated passage of a bill that will expand
access to low-power radio frequencies. These frequencies are often
used by non-profit community agencies to broadcast localized content,
expanding the number of voices present on the airwaves.

A press release on the legislation's passage by the U.S. House of
Representatives is below.

December 16, 2009

The United Church of Christ's media-justice advocacy arm and the
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) are celebrating a
significant victory in one of its most important and longest standing
legislative efforts in the area of media reform. On Wednesday evening,
legislation that will expand low-power radio to 140 million people who
are currently unable to receive it has been passed on the floor of the
U.S. House of Representatives, poising the legislation for final
approval in the Senate.

"As part of its historic media advocacy ministry, the UCC has been
working to ensure community groups around the country can have access
to low-power radio stations for over 10 years," said the Rev. J.
Bennett Guess, the executive director of UCC's media-justice arm, the
Office of Communication, Inc. (OC, Inc.)

"Low power radio is an important opportunity to get a wide range
of viewpoints and opinions on our airwaves," explained Helen Osman,
Director of Communications for the USCCB. "Churches and community
organizations around the country have demonstrated the value of
opening up opportunities for small neighborhood organizations to make
their voices heard. We are delighted so many more will soon have a
similar opportunity."

The Local Community Radio Act, H.R. 1147, is co-sponsored by
Congressman Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.). The bill would
alter a law passed in 2000 that unnecessarily limited low-power radio
to rural parts of the country.

"This step is an example of the great progress that can be made
through coalition work. The assistance of the US Conference of
Catholic Bishops' staff as part of a joint effort has been a
tremendous help in making sure this bill will become law," said Cheryl
A. Leanza. "We are particularly grateful for the leadership of
Congressmen Doyle, Terry, Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher (D-Va.)
and House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Cal.)
in getting us through the House."

Low-power radio stations are small FM radio stations that serve a
geographic area with a radius of 5 to 7 miles. They are non-commercial
stations that can be obtained by community groups, churches, schools
and other non-profits. Currently there are about 800 radio stations on the air.

On Monday, a wide range of faith communications leaders, including
from the UCC, USCCB, National Association of Evangelicals, and the
United Methodists, reiterated their support for the low-power radio

A companion bill, S. 592, sponsored by Sens. Maria Cantwell
(D-Wash.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) was passed without objection by
the Senate Commerce Committee on November 19, queuing up the bill for
passage into law after its last hurdle - the full U.S. Senate.

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