When I first read Bill McKibben’s “Deep Economy,” I was a little embarrassed by the author’s lack of irony while describing, at length, the role of community radio in pushing sustainability forward. Radio? Really? The book was published in 2007, right after the release of the iPhone, and community radio seemed as antiquainted as print.
But I saw McKibbin’s point. Engaging our diverse urban communities will not require more technology, but more access. Low Powered FM radio (LPFM) stations—including Prometheus Radio in West Philly—are inexpensive to run and, with just a few miles of reach, truly local. Without corporate ownership, Low Power means more creative potential. Most importantly, FM radio, unlike smartphones (or even the internet, for that matter), is available to nearly everyone.
So, it’s thrilling to hear that the ten-year stranglehold on LPFMs has been lifted. The Local Community Radio Act (LCRA), a mandate on the Federal Communications Commission to provide licenses to thousands of new LPFMs, was signed by President Obama last Wednesday. As to be expected, the LCRA saga never made big news. Media Mobilizing Project posted this article detailing the significance of this legislation and crediting Promethius for their activism, and here's a recent Inquirer story on the same subject. Can’t wait to hear what happens next.