Low Power FM Movement Makes Waves
Fans of Low Power FM radio say hundreds of new mini-stations are bringing localism and diversity back to America's airwaves. The service's opponents -- primarily big broadcasters -- say the stations, which can be established for less than $10,000, are amateurish and cause interference.
Nearly five years after first moving to allow LPFM programming, the FCC is holding meetings with hundreds of activists and workers involved in the community-based stations. The discussion will center on the stations' effects -- and the possible expansion of the program from rural and exurban areas into cities.
The FCC hearing comes as new ways of receiving radio programs -- from satellite services like XM Radio to Internet tools like Audible.com -- are growing by leaps and bounds. But the decidedly lo-fi approach of Low Power FM spurs a passionate reaction in its supporters, who praise its sometimes idiosyncratic content, and from critics, who say the stations create havoc on the radio dial.
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