The mainstream media finally recognizes

  • The mainstream media finally recognizes the evisceration of low-power FM. Today the New York Times reports on the anti-LPFM rider attached to the omnibus budget bill. Of particular note is this observation: “Taking a direct slap at the regulators, the new law shifts the policy- making authority from the F.C.C. to Congress to set standards and issue licenses for low-power FM stations. This is the first time in recent memory that the lawmakers actually stripped the agency of the power to manage an important part of the spectrum.” Also telling is FCC Chairman Kennard’s response to the legislation: “We can’t allow people who have the spectrum to use their political clout to shut out voices that don’t have the same clout.”

    I think the most important and wide-reaching element of this bill is the micromanagement by congress that it effects. Regulatory agencies exist for a reason, and part of that reason is to take over areas too complex and expansive for Congress and the President to preside over. But this bill effectively sends the message that Congress has no faith in the FCC and its ability to determine the proper use of the spectrum–something that is its primary responsibility. Apparently Congress believes that the National Association of Broadcasters knows better than the FCC. The scary thing is that this could be a harbringer of things to come—why not just turn all telecomm regulation over to the NAB? And while we’re at it, why not let Exxon and Texaco take over the EPA?

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