Low Power FM Radio Station Applications Now Available From The Federal Communications Commission
OVER A THOUSAND NEW COMMUNITY RADIO LICENSES WILL BE AWARDED TO NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS AND COMMUNITY GROUPS OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS
In January, 2011, President Obama signed the Local Community Radio Act into law. As a result of this new law, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) must issue over a thousand new low power community radio licenses to not-for-profit organizations and community groups. As a result on Monday, June 17, 2013, the FCC issued the official application as well as designating October 15 – October 29, 2013, as the official time period when these applications will be accepted. When that two week window ends, so will one of the biggest opportunities we have had in decades to take our message to the airwaves and let our voices be heard.
People of color currently make up over 36% of the U.S. population but own just over 7 percent of radio licenses and 3 percent of TV licenses in the United States today. As a result of media consolidation, 90% of all we see, hear or read comes from a handful of privately owned corporations. Radio stations are the easiest point of entry upon which to build multi-media centers that could include radio broadcast and internet streams, newspapers, public access TV, interactive web sites, and mobile media, as well as community wireless mediums.
Radio is inexpensive to produce, free to consume, and the cost of launching a low power station is usually well within the reach of many community groups. The licenses for low-power FM radio stations which will be made available as a result of the Local Community Radio Act to local groups, including NAACP branches and units, unions, schools, churches, and non-profit groups with an educational mission offer us a tremendous opportunity to not only make our voices heard, but also to offer educational services to our communities. If we take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we may have a whole new powerful venue for getting the word out about NAACP events such as membership drives, voter registration drives, and Freedom Fund dinners. Control of the airwaves will also enable us to talk about issues important to us, and play music that we want to hear.
Applications for these radio spectrums are available at the FCC website, www.fcc.gov. While the application for a low power FM radio license is free, there can be fees associated with the start-up of a radio station which can vary from $10,000 to $30,000; the on-going costs can also vary, but are usually approximately $3,000 per year. The NAACP is also proud to partner with the Prometheus Radio group, which has more information about how you can get started or how you can find like-minded groups in your area to help fill some of the programming. You can find Prometheus radio by going to www.prometheusradio.org.