The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is going ahead with plans to licence new "low-power" FM radio stations throughout the United States of America. In January 2000, the commission voted to grant licences to stations operating at 100 watts or less that can reach audiences within a radius of 3.5 miles.
Low-power stations are being promoted to increase the diversity of voices in radio programming and are designed to be used by community groups, Islamic centres, educational associations and other non-profit organisations to create non-commercial broadcast outlets.
This decision provides a good dawah opportunity for local Muslim communities.
Following an FCC drawing, it was announced that applicants from Alaska, California, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Indiana, Lousiana, Maine, Mariana Islands, Maryland, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Utah will be the first localities allowed to apply in late May 2000, for low-power radio licences. Four other groups of localities will be chosen in the next 14 months.
What you can do -
1. Visit the FCC's site dealing with the issue of low-power radio stations. Go to www.fcc/gov/mmb/prd/lpfm
2. Those without access to the internet may call the FCC at 1-888-CALL-FCC to receive licensing information
3. Basic low-power FM transmitting equipment is moderately priced. An Islamic centre could go on the air for less that US$1,500. Information on the availability and costs of radio equipment is available from a variety of sources on the internet and electronics periodicals. Educate yourself about this opportunity by visiting sites such as: http://www.freeradio.org or http://www.radio4all.org/how-to.html
Note: When you visit these sites, keep in mind that until the recent FCC decision to permit low-power FM transmitters, these stations were regarded as "pirate" radio.