WASHINGTON (January 21, 2000) -- The Communications Committee of the United States Catholic Conference (USCC) applauded the decision (January 20) by the Federal Communications Commission to license low power radio stations throughout the United States. This new class of station is a small but important step in establishing a diversity of voices over the publicly owned radio airwaves. Deregulation of radio licensees by the FCC since 1984, and Congressional passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 permitting greater concentration of control of radio, have resulted in dwindling amounts of public interest programming.
The new local radio stations launched by the FCC offer the promise of greater diversity of voices heard on radio. While this new radio service is helpful in opening the airwaves to more public interest programming, it does not eliminate the obligations of each existing full power radio station to serve the needs and interests of their community of license with programming which meets those needs and interests.
The USCC's Communications Committee urged the FCC to ensure that radio licenses' public interest obligation is enforced through reasonable regulations.
The USCC is a nonprofit corporation organized under the laws of the District of Columbia whose members are the active Catholic Bishops in the United States. The USCC advocates and promotes the pastoral teachings of the Bishops in such diverse areas as education, human life, family life, health care, social welfare, immigration, civil rights, the economy, housing, and communications. Protection of the public's First Amendment right to disseminate and receive information on the scarce public resources of the airwaves in a matter of particular concern to the USCC.