LPFM Bill Passes Senate Commerce Committee

Early reports say that the Senate Commerce Committe passed the bill to restore low-power FM by voice vote this morning.

Strangely, the Committee also passed an amendment excepting the state of New Jersey, submitted by Sen. Lautenberg, apparently because the Senator believes Jersey is more susceptible to interference problems because it is the most densely populated state in the country. As a former Jersey-boy, let me tell you that there are many little towns and isolated exurbs around the state that could use a true non-profit community station squeezed in between the mammoth commercial blowtorches blasting in from New York City and Philadelphia. Thus, I doubt the need for such an exception, and the validity of Lautenberg’s interference fears. Seems to me that the NJ broadcasters were probably leaning on him for some protectionism, especially since they suffer from competing with the bigger NYC and Philly stations.

Now the bill is off to the Senate floor for further deliberation and vote. A passage in the Senate seems more likely than a vote and passage in the House, the leadership of which has been much more hostile to any sort of media reform effort.