Our Issues

Many people know Prometheus for our work building radio stations or fighting in Congress to expand low power radio. In this section, we share a lesser-known side of our struggle to free the airwaves: the world of regulatory policy. In other words, the rules.

Rules about the airwaves (aka the radio spectrum) are set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is supposed to manage the radio spectrum as a public resource (just as other agencies manage other public resources, such as water or forests). The public can participate by commenting about proposed rules, or even proposing rules of our own. At Prometheus, we advocate for rules that allow greater access to the airwaves for those historically marginalized from media ownership. We think media should be controlled by communities, not corporations. We believe that communication is a fundamental right. Since so much communication relies on the radio spectrum (from radio to broadband to satellites), we see access to the spectrum as a right worth fighting for.

You can learn about our key regulatory issues in the menu on the right, or read below for the latest updates on our regulatory work.

Our Policy Updates


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On July 12, 2011, the FCC asked the public to comment on a plan to expand community radio and allow new stations in urban areas.

Let policy makers know that your city needs local, diverse voices on the air by taking this e-action!   Or download our letter writing tips and write your own letter to the FCC to tell them why you need community radio in your city or town. 

Want more information? 

Translating the Translators - This page explains the FCC's recently released plan in more depth.

What happens in your city? - A list of cities with an explanation of what the plan means in each place.  

Thanks to the recent passage of the bipartisan Local Community Radio Act, there will soon be an opportunity to build low power FM community radio stations across the nation, and for the first time, in urban areas. Before the FCC can allocate open channels to new community stations, they must first address a backlog of thousands of pending applications for translators which are radio transmitters that repeat the signal of existing stations. The way the FCC handles this will determine whether urban schools, churches, and non-profit organizations will have access to low power radio.
 
Prometheus and our allies fought for ten years to pass this law because we wanted to see vibrant community radio in all of our communities. Show the FCC that this is still our priority, and join us in calling for a resolution of these pending translator applications that gives community groups in urban areas a chance at the airwaves. These are our cities, our airwaves!

Take action!

There are two ways you can tell the FCC you care about community radio. 

Submit a petition letter to your elected officials and the FCC through the Media and Democracy Coalition website. 

Or you can go more in depth, and write the FCC your own letter describing the need for local radio in your community, and tell them why you support preserving space for LPFM channels. Download our letter writing tips for ideas about writing and easy intstructions for submitting your letter online, and get in touch if you have any questions.

Interesting look at the power of LPFM from a blog on radio station management: http://radiostationmanagement.blogspot.com/2011/01/how-new-lpfm-act-will...

How the New LPFM Act will affect your market: THEY MAY BE SMALL – AND NON-COMMERCIAL – BUT DON’T IGNORE THE NEW KIDS WHEN THEY COME TO PLAY
by Doug McLeod, January 11, 2011

Earlier this month, at the Technology Policy and Research Conference academics, policy makers, and policy advocates gathered to discuss the latest research on net neutrality, broadband deployment, privacy and security, and other areas of information policy.

Net Neutrality was a hot topic at the conference, but not all internet users have a strong conception of the nature and shape of the internet itself, which is at the heart of net neutrality. Radio as a transmission medium provides a good contrast to the way internet reaches us.

After years of filings, counterfilings, and differences as intractable as the Hatfields and the McCoys, Prometheus and large translator network Educational Media Foundation (EMF) have come to an understanding about the future status of translators and low power FM (LPFM) stations. Translators are the mini-stations that repeat the signals of other stations, often in chains over long distances. EMF is the third largest applicant for non-commercial FCC translator licenses, with over 800 applications in the 2003 filing window.