Our VoiceNews & Politics

Be a Patriot. Start a Rock Band!

George Garza • Dec 19, 2009

On Wednesday, December 16, 2009 the Local Community Radio Act passed through the House of Representatives with a voice vote.

The action surrounding Low Power FM radio and it’s course through our legislative system is something I’ve been observing since meeting members of the Prometheus Radio Project this past June at the 2009 Allied Media Conference held in Detroit. Upon realizing the implications of this hugely important bill, I felt compelled to sign-up for regular emails from the movers pushing LPFM into the spotlight. Since then, however, I have not done much other than make a couple phone calls to my representative’s offices and leave a message with their clerks. Nonetheless, the wave of awareness about and support for the act has only grown. The social networking tools and DIY media outlets we have access to are facilitating the organic spread of a powerful, conscious, global community, and in the U.S. it’s causing positive changes.

We’ve recently been witness to people power in the most direct way, seeing corporate execs and shoddy TV anchors step-down as a result of public pressure. We’ve also seen sponsorships withdraw support from blatantly biased news programming. These occurrences lead me to another realization; possibly the most empowering one for our time. If you get past the surface, maybe the system is not rotten. It merely appears to be tarnished. Speak in solidarity and the movement proves to be a battle worth the effort.

Though I have only participated as a voice in the ear of our politicians, that voice is still a part of the collective; a collective that grows each day due to people who are increasingly aware that they have the ability to steer change. Once again I can plainly see an affirmation that all of this music, media, and activism hooplah really matters, and I am excited to know that I am involved.

I fully support the expansion of Low-Power FM radio across this country because I believe that LPFM serves an interest to me as a community member and a musician alike. I feel it is important to have a diverse cross section of views, opinions, information, and of course music streaming through our airwaves.

Recent trends indicate that as much as 50% of music on the radio is over 10 years old. What’s worse, in my home of San Antonio, I’m saddened to hear radio staff confirm that less than 1% of the music played is local. Without digging much, you’ll also find that local news isn’t much of a priority on the commercial spectrum either. Luckily, in some special instances, communities fortunate enough to already have LPFM broadcasts in times of emergency persevered because they were connected with real people transmitting lifesaving information with electricity from a car battery.

There is an unhealthy trend in the commercial radio stations that create breaks in the chain between citizens and our airwaves. LPFM serves to abolish these disadvantages and dangers. I’m not saying LPFM will destroy Top 40 and syndicated personalities, but I have a feeling that if the Local Community Radio Act passes, big league broadcasters will begin to come off of their high horses and get real with their audience.

I say “IF” because the struggle is not over yet for the Promethus Radio Project and those involved in organizing this movement. The bill (S592) now awaits a Senate vote.

Now the task at hand is to compel you to take an interest in these matters and ACT!

It’s simple. All you do is call your state officials in the Senate urging them to put S592, the Local Community Radio Act on the Senate agenda. Likely you’ll be greeted by a kind desk clerk or secretary from the senator’s office who may offer to take a message. I have done it myself and it takes less than two minutes. Still, I’d suggest requesting to leave the senator a voicemail as well. I also want to urge you to do so this week. I can’t stress enough that this must be done immediately because if a vote on the bill doesn’t take place this session, the arduous process of moving it from words to reality must begin again from the start.

Your support is of course appreciated by myself and everyone else pushing for public victory over corporate interests. It will also be appreciated by future generations glad that we ever started being considerate of them in the first place.

Now get out there and start a band! We’re gonna need more music to fill up the air spaces between community news and views. Viva LPFM!

PS I’m sure my friends in Philadelphia with PRP would be happy if I asked you to forward this message to at least 10 friends who care about people-powered media.

PSS For my own sake, I’ll go ahead and suggest that you also send it to every musician you can.

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