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How much room will there be for community radio in crowded radio markets? We can't know for sure, but we can make some informed guesses. 

The FCC is deciding on a slate of new rules for low power community radio, and they are asking the public to weigh in by May 7. The rules cover a number of important issues, including power levels, interference complaints, where stations can be licensed, and how the FCC should select among competing applicants.

FCC Update: New rules and proposals to expand community radio

On March 19, we celebrated a policy victory when the FCC took two major actions to expand community radio. First, the agency announced rules to deal with a backlog of pending applications for translators (which repeat the signals of other stations). After nine years, the FCC is dismissing thousands of these applications to clear the airwaves for community radio! Second, the FCC released proposed rules for future Low Power FM (LPFM) stations, asking the public to comment on the proposals.

Both FCC actions have big implications for community stations, so we break down all the wonky details on translators and share our best guess on an application window timeline here.

WCRS Columbus

 

“People need to tune out of their iPods and into community radio,” boldly states Robb Ebright as

if looking out onto a sea of earnest listeners, yet actually speaking to me from inside a donated

By: Vanessa Maria Graber

With the smart phone becoming more accessible, mobile applications have 
the potential to expand the reach of your radio station or program by 
bringing the latest news and music to listeners via a variety of 
different technologies. Its important to consider branching out into 
mobile technologies since more and more people are using their mobile 
device as their primary source of internet access, especially in places 
where access to broadband is limited.  Additionally, for citizen 
 

Imagine what you could do with a radio station.  Now imagine what we can do with one thousand radio stations!

“I have been an organizer for ten years, and I have never had such an easy time filling rooms on a Saturday morning as when we meet to talk about getting low power FM stations in Minneapolis-St. Paul."

This powerful statement on the excitement around community radio came from Danielle Mkali, Media Justice Organizer with the Main Street Project. Ms. Mkali was one of six panelists at “Civil Rights on the Airwaves: Building Community Radio in Communities of Color,” a video streamed event on the New America Foundation on January 9.

Across the country, communities are gearing up as the FCC prepares to accept new applications for low power FM (LPFM) community radio stations in 2012. The panelists discussed the importance of community radio in communities of color, as well as their challenges and visions for the future. Along with her Media Justice Program Director Steven Renderos, Ms. Mkali described Main Street Project's work to organize a coalition of groups in the Twin Cities to apply for community radio licenses.

In the last 6 years, Arizona's KPYT has come a long way. At its launch, the studio was a table with microphones clamped to it. They now have a real studio, and while there are only two paid staff positions, they have over 30 volunteers, an active webstream, and a steady flow of local programming.