Prometheus Project Press Release On FCC Announcement - 1/28/99

Prometheus Radio Project
2-12 Seaman Ave, 5K, NY, NY 10034

Thursday, January 28, 1999

contact: Pete triDish 202. 518. 5644 (Thurs- Sun ) 215-474-6459 after
Sunday Greg Ruggiero :212. 946. 5251 (after

FCC Proposes New Rules
TO END 21 Year Ban on Low Power FM Radio

Will Microradio be nothing but another way for businesses to dump ads on
the american public?

Prometheus Radio Project Gears Up For The Next Round - Public Interest or
Private Profit?

 The FCC publicly released today a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on
low power broadcasting in the United States.

The NPRM has been long awaited among community groups hoping to gain
access to the airwaves. If the proposal is a good one, and is not defeated
by pressure from the National Association of Broadcasters, Low Power FM
radio broadcasting (LPFM) could become legal soon.

"We are happy that the Commission seems to finally be getting serious
about Low Power FM. It only took them twenty years to decide to listen to
what thousands of individuals and community organizations have been saying
about the need for neighborhood radio. Pirate radio stations will keep
popping up until the ban is lifted and new, fair rules for awarding
licenses to community groups are in place. It is everyone's interest to
make a Low Power FM service that will really work. If the new rules are
just another hand out to business, there can be little doubt that civil
disobedience on a national scale will continue unabated" says Diane Imelda
Fleming (a.k.a. The Condom Lady, a community health educator from The
Station Formerly Known As Mutiny in West Philadelphia).

If reasonable rules are set in place, though, Prometheus Radio Project
will encourage people to abide by them, and we'll be working hard to
assist the many former radio "pirates" and community groups that need
access to the airwaves in their applications for licenses.  "There's
nothing we'd like to see better than an orderly transition to a new way of
doing things, by all the parties to this protracted, bitter struggle."
says Prometheus organizer Pete triDish. "I'm going to break open my piggy
bank and see if I have enough money for a membership in the NAB! I hope
that all their resources will work as well for us as they did against

"Today's microradio activists take to heart the ideals and tactics of the
civil rights movement " says fellow Prometheus organizer Greg Ruggiero.
"You see the same kind of grassroots organizing, the same willingness to
use non-violent resistance, and the same commitment to equal access and
opportunities. Activists have successfully forced the government to
examine why corporations have access to the public airwaves, but the
public themselves, at the basic community level, are banned. Today's
rulemaking may bring us all one step closer to victory."

 "But we could lose by winning," warns constitutional lawyer and former
President of the Pacifica Radio Network Peter Franck. "If the FCC moves to
legalize micro, but then favors commercial applications and  auction of
licenses, the thousands of community groups who have waited for access to
the airwaves will lose miserably."

The Prometheus Radio Project was created by a ragtag group of radio
pirates, RF engineers, and civil rights lawyers who came together to
advocate for non-commercial  legalization of microradio, and to encourage
the public to get involved in the legalization process. “We realized that
for real change to come about,  people who can’t take the risk that the
pirates did  (telling the FCC that they could take a long walk off a short
plank) needed to get involved.” said Prometheus organizer David Murphy.
“If it hadn’t been for the civil disobedience of neighborhood pirate
stations all over the country, this rulemaking would not have been a
thought in the minds of policy makers and FCC staff. They finally seem
like they are ready to talk seriously about this- we need to take the next
step and work together to open up the airwaves to all citizens.”

. Ten days from today, the FCC will accept public comments on its new
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. "It is crucial that the public become aware
of the opportunity to influence the legalization process. The result will
decide whether America wins for itself another genuine democratic
institution like the public libraries, or whether it gets stuck with yet
another business, " says Sara Zia Ebrahimi, another organizer at
Prometheus Radio Project. "Democracy needs more non-commercial spaces, not
more concession stands for the powerful."

 "We believe that a non-commercial, locally owned and operated microradio
service is the only way for the remaining slivers of available radio
spectrum to be regulated in "the public interest, convenience, and
necessity"-- the FCC's original, founding promise to American citizens.
With so much of our media overwhelmingly dominated by the private
interests of commercialism, it would be offensively undemocratic to fill
the remaining cracks in the radio spectrum with the advertising and
commercials that "microbusiness" stations will dump on local audiences, "
says Ruggiero.

 Ending the 21 year ban on community access to the airwaves will score a
genuine victory for community groups, public interest organizations and
the hundreds of movement organizers who, inspired by Rosa Parks and Martin
Luther King, Jr. , have drawn from the power of civil disobedience to win
change from the grassroots. The commercial radio industry represents a
formidable force obstructing legalization. "We need more people to stand
behind a non-commercial interpretation of 'public interest' says Ebrahimi,
 and win microradio for the people, not the corporations of this country."