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Jan 07 2008

Indymedia center wants LPFM license


The independent producers and journalists behind “Rustbelt Radio” hope to apply for a low-power FM license if Congress and the FCC relax the regulations, according to the Tribune-Review.

Produced by the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center, “Rustbelt” examines issues with a distinct anti-corporate slant. The weekly one-hour roundup of news “from the grass roots” is heard live Mondays at 6 p.m. on Carnegie Mellon’s WRCT-FM (88.3) as well as Wednesdays on WPTS-FM (92.1), Thursdays on Benwood, W.Va.’s WVJW-LPFM (94.1), and Fridays on WIUP-FM (90.1) in Indiana, WNJR-FM (91.7) in Washington and WKCO-FM (91.9) in Kenyon, Ohio.

“Community radio is all about covering issues in our community and getting it on the air,” says Matt Toups of the local IMC. “The reason we do what we do, with grassroots volunteers, is because we don’t like the current media offered.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, a Democrat from Swissvale, is leading the congressional charge to expand the number of LPFM licenses available.

But the National Association of Broadcasters and National Public Radio oppose the move, saying it would increase interference levels on the FM band.

“The radio dial is so crowded in major markets that shoe-horning other stations onto the dial will cause interference,” the NAB’s Dennis Wharton tells the Trib.

(Editor’s Note: In the interest of full disclosure, this PBRTV correspondent is a WRCT volunteer and a member of a group that wants to bring a low-power FM station to the Mon Valley area.)