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Law would keep FCC off low-power radio

By   /   January 27, 2010  /   News  /   7 Comments


charleskeyOKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Charles Key wants state law to stop federal interference with low-power radio stations.

The Oklahoma City Republican submitted House Bill 2812 to allow low-power broadcast despite Federal Communications Commission authority effective Nov. 1.

The “Communications Freedom Act” would give stations that are not interfering with existing signals authority to broadcast without federal license.

“The Legislature of the State of Oklahoma declares that: A transmission of energy, communications or signals by radio originating inside the State of Oklahoma, that has not been proven and adjudicated by the Oklahoma court system or the Federal court system to specifically be causing, or to have caused quantifiable harm to, or interference with the transmission or reception of energy, communications or signals from: a.) within Oklahoma to any place beyond its borders. b.) any place beyond the borders of Oklahoma to any place within Oklahoma, or c.) or to places beyond the borders of Oklahoma; is not intended to be involved in interstate commerce.”

It specifies “a transmission of energy, communications or signals by radio” that is noncommercial is “not intended to be involved in interstate commerce” or is not meant to affect interstate commerce.

“How can the FCC regulate something under the interstate commerce clause (of the U.S. Constitution) when (low-power FM) is neither interstate nor commerce?” asked James Lane, an Oklahoma City-based activist with We Are Change Oklahoma.

Lane noted that low-power FM should be embraced by states and communities. A great example, he said, is the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans-area radio station crews left the area and low-power station personnel stayed behind to broadcast public service information.

“We’re making this an issue of standing up to the federal government which we believe is overstepping its Constitutional boundaries,” Lane said.

Key has supported other bills in the past, including one reaffirming the 10th Constitutional amendment reserving

to states and the people all powers not specifically delegated to the U.S. or prohibited to the states.

When contacted by Oklahoma Watchdog on Tuesday, Key said he suspects the federal government doesn’t like the “free speech aspect” of low-power FM radio and may view it as a threat.

“The federal government is out of control. It’s violated it’s role in regards to the Constitution. The government has become a predator of sorts and it’s become a law until itself.”

Key said the bill will go to the Rules committee first and then to the full House. Oklahoma Watchdog is looking to confirm if the bill has Senate support.

By Andrew W. Griffin

Oklahoma Watchdog, editor

Posted: January 27, 2010

[email protected]

Copyright 2010 Oklahoma Watchdog


Andrew formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Tom Kruecke

    As citizen activist, HB 2812 will be on my list to track and lobby!

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  • OKC has only 2 locally owned radio stations and 1 locally owned tv stations. why do you want to prevent oklahomans from telling our own stories? what kind of low life scum bag are you?

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  • Steve Hunt

    I mean, anyone doing anything to prevent local (true local that is) radio, tv, anything is rotten. Since the 96 telecom act, things have gotten so bad. Its hard to even describe. In OKC we don’t have our own tv stations (except ch 9, which is owned by Griffin who is too close to the power in the city) or radio (save the Perry station and the 2 tyler ones….) and we all know about the newspaper. After I file Tomorrow, I will announce some plans for taking care of a lot of these issues here in the City…stay tuned.

  • Is Senator Key aware that the FCC is poised to open another window for low power radio permits, most likely this year?

    A low power FM bill, H.R. 1147, has already passed out of subcommittee, full committee and the House of Representatives. On the Senate side, a similar bill, S. 592, has cleared the select committee and is pending a vote on the floor very soon clearing the way for it to be signed into law.

    LPFM bills have come up for years, unsupported by the Bush administration FCC, and resisted by commercial radio interests as well as NPR, who worried LPFM transmissions would interfere with their signals. This prompted millions of dollars to be spent and years wasted to research these claims which were found to be insignificant.

    Not everyone seems to be as enthusiastic about local radio as State Senator Key.

    Four months ago, Glenn Beck referred to “localism and diversity”– two hallmarks of community radio–as part of a “diabolical” plan to transform media.

    On the same program, Rush Limbaugh called localism and diversity part of the growing tyranny of the left.

    Lou Dobbs would add diversity means “more liberals on the air.”

    Liberal or conservative, and regardless how you feel about government in general, if you want more voices to be heard over the airwaves, encourage your Senators to vote yes on S. 592 for expanding low power radio.

    James Moore

    General Manager

    KRUU-LP 100,1 FM


    Fairfield, Iowa

  • We need low power radio to get our message out. Thank you for supporting our bill!!