Letter in Support of Excellent Radio  from Rep. Lois Capps

The Honorable William Kennard 
Chairman, Federal Communications Commission

1919 M Street NW
Washington, DC 20554

March 17, 1999

Dear Chairman Kennard:

 I am writing in regards to the Federal Communications Commissionís
interest in encouraging new opportunities for community-oriented radio
broadcasting through the establishment of a system to license low power FM
(LPFM) and microradio stations. I have a particular interest in how the
FCC might implement the licensure of non-commercial, locally-owned
low-power stations that Iíd like to share with you.

 Excellent Radio, a 14-watt non-commercial station located in the
coastal community of Grover Beach, California, was on the air from
March, 1995 until June, 1998, when the stationís owner decided to
suspend broadcasting after a federal judge ruled in the FCCís case
against Free Radio Berkeley. During its three years on the air, the
station aired an eclectic mix of music, including jazz, reggae, and
blues as well as Grover Beach City Council Meetings, childrenís  shows and
a wide range of community forums on important issues of interest to its
listeners. Excellent Radio was an excellent example of how such a
community-oriented, non-commercial station can entertain and enrich a
community while inviting greater participation in the democratic process.
 Excellent Radio provided a forum for community members to participate
more fully in the public discourse about many important local issues
affecting their families, schools, neighborhoods and community. I believe
it also provided a model that could be used successfully in many other
communities. When larger numbers of people in any community become more
informed and more involved in the discussion about issues that affect
them,  that entire community benefits.

 I know there are those who oppose the licensing of LPFM and micro
stations because of concerns regarding increased competition and
decreased broadcast quality. I understand that, as part of this process,
the FCC will be proposing some interference protection criteria to protect
existing radio services and the technical integrity of radio service, and
I appreciate your efforts to address concerns about interference that
might result from the licensing of additional radio stations. Clearly,
consumers would not benefit if the changes the FCC is now considering
resulted in interference with existing signals. Again, I think Excellent
Radio provides a good model. Because of its very limited broadcast area
and its non-commercial nature, Excellent Radio provided a unique and
valuable service to the community of Grover Beach without competing
directly with other commercial stations that broadcast to larger, more
regional audiences.

 When Excellent Radio went off the air last June, my constituents in
Grover Beach lost an important link connecting them to each other and to
their community. Thank you for your interest in developing a system for
licensing community-oriented LPFM and microradio stations, and for your
consideration on this matter.

 Sincerely,

 LOIS CAPPS
 Member of Congress
 22D District, California

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