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Re: LOW POWER FM, what a concept !!

In a message dated 98-03-14 21:26:31 EST, you write:

<<      This is something that is much needed.  The EB/97.9 type of station,
 serving a very local audience would become legitimate.  One watt at 50 feet
 will serve a mile or so and will allow people to express themselves, without
 bowing to commercial pressure.  I have heard many microbroadcasters over the
 years.  Some were good, others...not-so-good.  But their local "feel" gave
 it something special.  Let's face it.  The big money operators couldn't 
 care less about serving the "public interest".  They are in it for the
 "bottom line".  That's all right, it's a business.  But in a free society,
 different voices must be heard.  IF the Commission were to allow for this
 micropowered service, it would satisfy a mandate for free expression.  It
 would not hurt any full-powered service because the power is so little and
 the chance of any blanketing of a full-powered station would be unlikely.
 The transmitters would have to be "type-approved" to insure stabilty and
 "cleanliness" of signal.  Like many ham-radio operators, it would be the
 duty of the micropowered industry to weed out the abusers, the ones who
 try to be "channel master" with high powered amps.  With so much to lose,
 the microbroadcaster would protect their modest initial investment for
 equipment and report the abusers to the Commission.  It think it's time
 for this service to go legit.  There's some great radio out there, waiting
 to be heard.
 -Pete- >>

As many of you know, I have been a vocal critic of pirates (or criminals as I
prefer to call them) in this forum, but I agree entirely with the proposal to
allow legal broadcasting at low power.  I think it can be done without harming
existing licensed broadcasters and could benefit many communities.  At the
same time, I am afraid that many of the current criminal broadcasters would
not be satisfied with power that only covers an area of one mile.  That would
not allow them to be the radio stars that they want to be without going
through the normal process.  I would combine the authorization of low power
stations with increased enforcement and much harsher penalties against
pirates.  I think that would allow different voices to be heard, but would
protect legitimate broadcasters from interference from pirates.

I think it is also interesting that the FCC is looking at this proposal when
the pirates said they had to break the law because the FCC would not consider
opening the spectrum to them.  Apparently, they were wrong.  The system can
work if you try to use it and not just ignore it.  I suspect the FCC's
consideration of this issue is a result of the decision in the Radio Free
Berkley case.  I give them credit for working through the court system and not
just turning off their transmitter and hiding when they FCC came to town.

Dan Billings
Bowdoinham, Maine