History of LPFM

Click here for the history of LPFM. This detailed 17-page account details the roots of the modern LPFM movement in the sixties through 2001 when the FCC granted the first LPFM construction permit.  (Links are included to related LPFM articles through 2005.)

 LPFM was birthed by social change groups and activists.  Now, in 2008 the majority of the 850+ licensed LPFM air predominately Christian programming.  This paradigm shift occurred because churches and other Christian groups rapidly adopted this new means of communications.

the FCC does not care what broadcasters air with certain notable exceptions.  For example, heavy fines are imposed by stations which air "patently offensive" programming of a "vulgar or sexual nature."  Full-power commercial TV broadcasters are required to air three hours a week of closely regulated "children's educational programs."  Also, broadcasters cannot discriminate against candidates for political office.

Other than listed above, currently stations can air what they want.  Years ago the FCC had a "Fairness Doctrine."  In the near future, the FCC will be closely monitoring what TV airs with new radio regulations to follow.   All broadcasters are either "Commercial" or "Non-Commercial Educational."  While many stations air Christian programming, the FCC does not have a class of stations called "religious."

While Low Power FM is the least regulated form of broadcasting, the FCC does give preferential treatment to LPFM stations that air eight or more hours a days of local programming.  "Local" is defined a "non-repetitive programming" that originates within ten miles of a station's transmitter site.  There is no distinction between locally automated playing of songs and live / talk programs.  (Repetitive refers to multiple airings of entire programs, not how many times individual songs are played.

Here is a recent development: Once again NPR opposes expansion of low-power FM

The Now Famous MITRE Study - 308 pages (PDF)

More on the History of LPFM
by Christopher Maxwell, WRIR-LP, Richmond, VA

McCain did something very significant in 2000 being the FIRST and the ONLY CongressCritter (Senate) to get up on his hind legs and say on the official record 'Shame on NPR, NAB (left out the NRB, scared of the preacher's John?) for opposing LPFM on third adjacent'. OK, not an EXACT quote (notice the single quote marks). But it was close to that.

By the way, McCain was not the "only" one to first put forth a bill ... McCain in his own transcript gives credit to the other Senator 
http://in own transcriptccainscrip t

But no, McCain did not *START* LPFM.  Don Schellhardt of the Amherst Alliance and the supporters of Amherst actually fired off the first paperwork at the FCC that started a conversation over many years for what was then called the "Low Power Radio Service". Then then-FCC chair, Kennard, went to South Africa and saw the huge positive impact of a pirate Low Power Community radio station for the abused blacks ... and he was evangelized!

Kennard came back ... and I am told by FCC staff ... was eager to push through LPFM.  But ...  didn't ... until .... Tim Kaine, then mayor of Richmond Virginia, was asked by Alan Schintzius (who in turn had been asked by his Secretary of the Virginia Center for Public Press - go look that up in the official FCC record who that was) to put forth a resolution in favor of LPFM.
Alan Schintzius was vital because Tim Kaine owed a great deal of his success in running for Mayor to Schintzius since his opponent had haughtily claimed Shintzius's opinions of his efforts at City Council were of no consequence. 

Schintzius then called all the people he knew and Tim Kaine's win as Mayor was close .. by about the same number of voters as Schintzius had called! (a few hundred). Schintzius also had provided free housing, utilities including internet for three years in his commercial building to the fledgling Radio Free Richmond effort that later became WRIR-LP (http://www.WRIR. org)  Tim Kaine agreed, creating the resolution and the city council of the city of Richmond Virginia unanimously voted for this resolution in 1999. Resolution 99-r78 (links below)

It turns out that Richmond was the only city in the South East to write and support a resolution. Now every corner of the US had cities and citizen NGOs in support of LPFM. Even The Deep South! The "Capitol of the Confederacy".

The FCC staff informed me that "this was the straw that broke the camel's back, now we the staff could go to the commission and show that EVERY corner of the US supports LPFM. Lets get it voted on."  And they did. And so LPFM was born.  Look it up in the FCC's official record. VCPP, Virginia Center for Public Press.  

Picture of NAB lies that harmed LPFM: http://members. aol.com/wrfr/ USLPFMSS. html

City of Richmond Virginia resolution 99-R78 http://members. aol.com/wrfr/ RFRP_PR499. html

McCain's Transcript: http://members. aol.com/wrfr/ LPFMdebate. html#mccainscript
"Earlier this year, Senator Kerry and I introduced the Low Power FM Radio Act of 2000, which would have struck a fair balance between allowing low -power radio stations to go forward while at the same time protecting existing full-power stations from actual interference. Under our bill, low -power stations causing interference would be required to stop causing interference- -or be shut down--but noninterfering low -power FM stations would be allowed to operate without further delay. The opponents of low -power FM did not support this bill because they want low -power FM to be dead rather than functional."