Letter to the Editor: Low power radio at risk

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    Dear Editor,

    Local music, already injured by the closing of Wrapsody, may be about to be insulted by a bill before Congress.

    Last year, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a new set of regulations that could prove to be a tremendous boon for community arts. They established what they call low power radio licenses. These radio licenses could be used to establish small community stations run by non-profit organizations.

    Local music fans have been looking into establishing a station where Utah artists could be heard. Local radio stations can also benefit the community in other ways: immigrant groups could broadcast in foreign languages and provide English-language instruction; churches could broadcast religious services to homebound individuals in the local vicinity; city governments could transmit council meetings and mass transit updates.

    Local radio could benefit communities much in the same way a local press can.

    However, business interests in the broadcasting industry have focused their power and persuaded some members of congress to sponsor a bill prohibiting the establishment of low power radio. They claim that low power radio will interfere with the quality of existing broadcasts. The FCC studies refute this handily, but the House of Representatives bowed to broadcasting industry pressure and passed the bill in April regardless. The bill is now before the Senate.

    The bad news is that Senator Hatch and Senator Bennett are not among low power radio supporters. The good news is that it’s not too late to make your voice heard and help bring local radio to Utah. You can contact Senators Hatch and Bennett and urge them to oppose bill S 2068 or any other bill restricting low power radio. Please also contact your senators back home if you are from a state other than Utah.

    Weston Cann

    Orem, Utah

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