[Amber Healy from brother website Geeks&Beats recently attended the Future of Music Conference in Washington, DC. Here’s another report of what she saw and heard. – AC]
“Local” isn’t just a buzzword for food anymore.
Big companies keep getting bigger, it seems, and smaller mom-and-pop establishments struggle to keep up. That’s not true just for stores and restaurants but also for radio stations. Across the United States, however, there’s a new, burgeoning market for low-power FM (LPFM) stations, which tend to be community oriented, centered and supported, with a broadcast radius of less than five to 10 miles.
As of 2000, there were 500 licenses issued to LPFM stations across Canada by the Radio Communications and Broadcasting Regulatory Branch of Industry Canada in conjunction with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, across the low (50 watt) and very low (10 watt) markets. Generally, LPFM station licenses are only granted in remote areas.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission—the same folks behind the net neutrality regulations safeguarding the fair and open Internet—first authorized LPFM stations in 2000, issuing more than 800 licenses across the country, mainly to organizations like churches, community centers and civil rights groups. There was pushback, of course, but these stations have continued to gain ground over the years, according to Freepress.net. As of September of this year, there are more than 1,364 licensed stations in the US, an increase of 215 stations since June 2015, reports Jennifer Waits for Radio Survivor.