The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is facing strong resistance to a proposed program that would create hundreds of low-power FM radio stations for educational, religious, and community groups to use.About half of the 800 different groups that have already applied for licenses are religious organizations. Michael Munn, pastor of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Fairbanks, Alaska, says his church might broadcast its Sunday service if awarded a license. "There's all kinds of opportunities with this," he says.Although FCC Chairman William E. Kennard believes the new stations will counteract recent consolidation trends in the radio industry, Republicans in Congress and the nation's largest religious broadcasters object, fearing the program will cause interference with stations that already exist.National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) opposes the program. "The more gospel the better," says Karl Stoll, NRB's director of communications. "But broadcasters have to able to broadcast without stepping on each other's signals."Others have a different attitude. "If it can be shown that it wouldn't interfere, then what's wrong?" asks Rich Cizik, Washington director for the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). "Every evangelical should be concerned about ways in which we can share the gospel."While the FCC says interference is not a problem, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) remains concerned. "We've done extensive testing and it simply cannot be done unless you want to create interference," says Dennis Wharton, NAB's executive vice president.Cheryl Leanza, deputy director for Media Access Project, is skeptical of the NAB's findings. "Our engineer found significant problems with their studies," she says. Leanza's ...1
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