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Spending measure would scale back low-power radio plans

By The Associated Press

10.27.00

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WASHINGTON — An alliance between commercial broadcasters and public radio has won congressional support to undercut an administration plan to create hundreds of new low-power radio stations.

Language in a spending measure passed by the House yesterday would significantly scale back the Federal Communications Commission initiative to create a micro-radio service for churches, community groups and schools.

President Clinton has threatened to veto the bill—covering the State, Justice and Commerce departments—for other reasons. In a letter to lawmakers, the president also urged them to drop the provision that would curtail the new low-power radio service.

The National Association of Broadcasters has fought the administration's plan, saying it would interfere with existing FM radio. National Public Radio has argued that the new low-wattage stations could disrupt reading narration services for the blind carried by its members.

The two groups backed a provision which would only allow the FCC to license a limited number of stations so that an independent entity could study potential interference.

FCC Chairman William Kennard railed against corporate interests lobbying Congress behind closed doors to curtail the plan.

"Public interest should always prevail over special interest," he said yesterday.

Updates

Congress reins in FCC's effort to fill radio dial with low-power stations
But commissioners may begin licensure proceedings this week for handful of applicants that adhere to provisions of new law.  12.20.00

Low-power radio's friends, foes argue against FCC plan
Broadcast industry tells federal appeals panel that adding new FM stations would cause interference with existing channels; radio pirates question eligibility requirements.  11.29.00

Related

Godfather of low-power radio back on air despite shutdown
Mbanna Kantako's Human Rights Radio had broadcast for nearly 13 years before the FCC seized station's equipment.  11.16.00

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