Bill that would eliminate LPFM third adjacent protection requirement stalled out in Senate
About a year ago we reported that S. 592 (the “Local Community Radio Act of 2009”) had received the big thumbs up from the Senate Commerce Committee and appeared to be heading for passage, since it had already made similar headway on the House side. We suggested that it would become the law of the land sooner rather than later.
Flash forward to today – and the bill is still gathering dust.
Oops. Unless your desk calendar is based on, like, geologic time (and, truth be told, sometimes we get the impression that that may be the case in some FCC offices), a year isn’t really sooner rather than later, so our prediction was (how can we say this correctly and still retain a modicum of credibility?) perhaps not as precisely accurate as we might have preferred.
According to a report posted recently on Politico.com, a number of senators have slowed things down by preventing a full Senate vote on the bill. Politico.com says that Wyoming Senator John Barrasso currently has placed a hold on the bill, while the other Wyoming Senator (Mike Enzi) and Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn have previously done the same. It seems that Barrasso “wants to ensure [the bill] includes language that distinguishes full-power FM stations from low-power FM stations”, while Enzi objected to the bill because “New Jersey was given an exemption from the proposed changes” in the bill, according to the Politico.com.
Proponents of the bill are quoted by Policitico.com as suggesting darkly that “corporate special interests” may be at work here, deftly deploying “procedural drag” to their presumably dastardly advantage. For its part, the NAB assures that it is “not against the concept of low-power FM stations” (i.e., the target beneficiaries of the bill) . . . but cautions that “[y]ou just can’t give everyone a Social Security card and a radio station at birth and think that there’s not going to be chaos on the airwaves.”
Once bitten, twice shy. We hereby officially decline to opine when, how, or even whether this impasse is likely to be resolved (although the end of this particular Congressional session could close the door on the bill for good, depending on -- among other things -- how those pesky mid-term elections turn out). But we will try to keep our readers apprised of developments as they come to our attention, sooner rather than later.