KDNK manager urges listeners to speak up on new FCC policy
KDNK general manager Allen Scott is asking the radio-listening public to contest a proposal that would result in all new broadcast licenses in the nonprofit portion of the FM spectrum to be distributed by lottery.
The Federal Communications Commission, which oversees licensing of the airwaves, is accepting public comments on the proposal until Jan. 28. FCC spokesman David Fisk said the agency has been working on a new method since 1996, when Congress passed a new law that required changes to the way licenses are distributed.
Fisk said commercial licenses go to the highest bidder, but devising a new distribution system for the nonprofits, such public radio or religious broadcasters, has been more problematic.
Scott, of Carbondale’s public radio station, said that regardless of the difficulty in finding a good method, a lottery system is not the answer. In a worst-case scenario under a lottery system, he noted, a license would be awarded to a broadcaster whose intent is to duplicate services already on the air.
Under the old licensing system, potential broadcasters had to convince the FCC that they can handle any engineering and legal issues that may crop up and show that they were filling a need, Scott said.
“I think it would be incumbent upon people to say licenses should be awarded on their merit and value to the community,” he said.
People wishing send comments can mail letters to: The Federal Communications Commission; 1919 M St.; Washington, D.C. 20554, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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