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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Support the Local Community Radio Act of 2009 (H.R. 1147)

Advocacy Letter - 12/14/09

Source: Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
Recipient: U.S. House of Representatives

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation's oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition with nearly 200 member organizations, we urge you to support H.R. 1147, the bipartisan Local Community Radio Act of 2009, when it comes to the floor to a vote. The version being considered by the House of Representatives should be adopted into law.

H.R. 1147, introduced by Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Lee Terry (R-NE), will help increase the number of Low Power FM (LPFM) stations in our country by authorizing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to license thousands of LPFM radio stations in cities, towns, and suburbs across the country. In an era of mass media consolidation, LCCR believes that it is important to preserve this avenue through which diverse viewpoints can be represented over the public airwaves.

LPFM refers to community-based, nonprofit radio stations that operate at 100 watts or less and have a broadcast reach of only a few miles. Since 2000, the FCC has awarded more than 800 LPFM licenses to civil rights organizations, schools, and church groups. By authorizing even more LPFM licenses, H.R. 1147 will help ensure that all segments of society have the opportunity to participate fully in the broadcast communications environment in two important ways: by enhancing diverse viewpoints and by enhancing diverse ownership.

LCCR has long regarded expanding minority and female ownership in media as an important goal because of the powerful role the media plays in the democratic process, as well as in shaping perceptions about who we are as individuals and as a nation. By providing community leaders the opportunity to have a voice on the public airwaves where no such opportunity previously existed, LPFM radio will help promote greater diversity on the public airwaves.

While Latino Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans make up one-third of the U.S. population, they own only 7.2 percent of all full-power radio and TV stations. Women make up 51 percent of the U.S. population, yet own less than 6 percent of full-power commercial radio and TV stations. We believe there is a direct connection between those who own these stations and the content they produce.

If you have any questions, please contact Corrine Yu, LCCR Senior Counsel, at 202/466-5670, or Nancy Zirkin, at 202/263-2880, regarding this or any issue.

Sincerely,

Wade Henderson
President & CEO

Nancy Zirkin
Executive Vice President

Our Members