Open up airwaves

Last Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission proposed relaxing regulations of low-power FM radio stations. The proposal will significantly increase both the accessibility to operate radio stations and the variety of programming available to listeners. The Twin Cities’ market would especially benefit from the proposal, since most local stations are owned by one of two media conglomerates.
The proposal would increase the number of FM frequencies available for low-power, noncommercial broadcast by churches, community groups, schools, political groups and independent musicians. The licenses would be granted for broadcast power of one to 1,000 watts, which translates to coverage of two to 18 miles.
As a result of federal deregulation of telecommunication industries in 1996, station ownership in several markets has been consolidated. In the Twin Cities, two corporations own the most successful stations — AMFM Inc. owns KTCZ, WLOL, KDWB and KEEY, while Disney/ABC owns 93X, KQRS and The Zone 105. This market is currently among the most bland of any large metro area, as there are several types of music and programming this duopoly chooses not to broadcast. Reducing the current regulations would significantly increase the variety of programming available to Twin Cities listeners.