Hello! You are part of a community of millions who seek out Democracy Now! each month for ad-free daily news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for our in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power and lift up the voices of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We produce all of this news at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation. We do this without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How? This model of news depends on support from viewers and listeners like you. Today, less than 1% of our visitors support Democracy Now! with a donation each year. If even 3% of our website visitors donated just $10 per month, we could cover our basic operating expenses for a year. Pretty amazing right? If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make a monthly contribution.

Your Donation: $
Monday, September 25, 2000 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | PREVIOUS: Bio-Terrorism–a Phantom Menace?
2000-09-25

Why Is Npr Fighting Public Radio?

download:   Get CD/DVD More Formats
DONATE →
This is viewer supported news

As members of the National Association of Broadcasters continued their convention this weekend, hundreds of activists rallied outside to protest the trade association’s aggressive stance against Low Power FM (LPFM) or micro-radio, and to demand increased non-commercial, locally controlled, public interest media in this country. At the same time, NPR was also targeted, because to the surprise of many, they have been playing an active role in opposing low-power FM in Congress.

Earlier this year the FCC announced a new licensing plan that would effectively enable as many as 700 new low power community stations to take to the airwaves. NAB and National Public Radio have pushed the House of Representatives to pass a bill cutting that number to 70. The bill is now before the Senate.

The NAB is the trade association of the most powerful corporate media in this country, including Time Warner and Disney. It has poured millions into the campaign coffers of both Democrats and Republicans.

Where does National Public Radio fit in with this? Last week the New York Times ran a full page ad with a headline, "We want more public radio. Why doesn’t NPR?" And the ad went on to say:

“Nobody can accuse NPR of being a powerful special interest. But in its winsome way, NPR is now providing political cover for some real Beltway bruisers.

“Take NPR’s opposition to low-power FM radio. This FCC plan would license small radio stations to schools, churches, and local community groups for educational purposes. It’s "cottage radio," serving neighborhoods and community constituencies that big broadcasters don’t.

“Radio doesn’t get any more "public" than low-power FM! Yet NPR has joined the huge commercial conglomerates in the National Association of Broadcasters to try to block low-power radio in Congress. Not that lobbyists for Big Broadcasting need any help. They spend $5 million a year to influence legislation, and hand out an additional $1,000 a day to candidates for federal office. They treat the public airwaves like their private property. They don’t want spectrum reserved for low-power FM. Their purpose is profit, not diversity or community service."

This weekend in San Francisco the NPR board of directors heard testimony from low-power FM supporters who criticized NPR’s quiet lobbying campaign urging senators to pass a bill that would limit low-power FM.

Tape Testimony:

  • Mike Bradsher, General Manager, KANW, a National Public Radio station in New Mexico.
  • Matt Barker and Raoul Rangel, from Radio Watson, a former low-power FM community radio station which was closed down by the FCC in 1998. The spanish speaking station served the farm workers of Watsonville, California.

Guests:

  • Kevin Close, president of National Public Radio.
  • Pete Tridish, of Prometheus Radio Project in Philadelphia.
  • Peter Franck, Attorney at National Lawyers Guild, Committee on Democratic Communications.

Related links:

Recent Shows More

Full News Hour

Stories

    Peoplesclimatemarchjustseedsimage
    A People’s Climate Movement: Indigenous, Labor, Faith Groups Prepare for Historic March
    New York City is set to host what could be the largest climate change protest in history. Organizers expect more than 100,000 people to converge for a People’s Climate March on Sunday. Some 2,000 solidarity events are scheduled around the world this weekend ahead of Tuesday’s United Nations climate summit. We spend the hour with four participants representing the labor, indigenous, faith and climate justice communities: Rev. Dr. Serene Jones is the president of Union Theological Seminary, which recently voted to divest from fossil...

Creative Commons License The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.