Native Public Media

Native Public Media wanted to obtain a regulatory change that would facilitate radio service to tribal lands.  NPM needed to build a record to assess the impact of various regulatory changes and eventually support a proposal to the Federal Communications Commission.

Cheryl undertook a confidential academic-quality research report identifying the impact, on tribal applicants for radio licenses, of Section 307(b) of the Communications Act (which requires a fair distribution of service throughout the United States).  Cheryl developed a survey instrument, combed FCC databases for relevant data, and prepared a detailed policy memo to explain the impact of this provision on the regulatory process of assigning new radio licenses.  She compiled detailed data and charts and quantitative evaluations for 38 applicants and 61 applications.

Loris Taylor, Executive Director of NPM, said, “Working with Cheryl was a satisfying and collaborative endeavor.  Her report was exceptionally thorough and answered the questions we needed addressed.  She stuck with the project even as the FCC’s glacial pace slowed our ability to acquire needed data.”

Local Community Radio Act

Problem:  Local Community Radio Act had been pending for almost 10 years.  Advocates for the LCRA were running out of time–the Federal Communications Commission was going to release spectrum that would be used for local community radio.

  • Cheryl successfully helped to bring the Local Community Radio Act across the goal line after 10 years of advocacy.
  • Cheryl led weekly coalition meetings for two years, handling the agenda and distributing detailed notes that enabled a wide range of groups to collaborate with one another.
  • Cheryl was able to combine advice on grassroots legislative advocacy–identifying the type of local advocacy that could be most effective–with detailed legal knowledge to draft legislative language and negotiate with the bills opponents.
  • Cheryl represented the coalition in her testimony before the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, energizing legislative supporters and painting a clear vision of the low power radio service.
  •  Cheryl’s legislative strategy enabled the grassroots champion, Prometheus Radio Project, navigate a gridlocked Congress so that the LCRA obtained unanimous consent in a sharply divided Senate.

Solution:  The coalition effort obtained bipartisan and exceptionally widespread public interest support for legislation, and the Local Community Radio Act became law in December 2010.

Learn more:  See and read Cheryl’s presentation describing the elements of the successful campaign.

Open Internet: no longer a solution in search of a problem

Internet ImageOver the weekend, the New York Times published a story noting that the second-largest Internet provider in France, called Free, is blocking advertisements as part of its new default settings.  This means that, unless users change the default, its 5.2 million customers will not see any advertisements when they browse the Internet.  Whoa!  While this is largely viewed as a swipe at Google, the real victim is reported to be small web sites that rely on advertising to finance their content.  As one commenter noted, this type of policy means that “smaller sites with only an online presence may close.”  Organizations, like news sites, which support their businesses with advertising are likely to be pressured into paying the ISP so that users can view advertisements.

In the past, critics of net neutrality or open Internet policies have criticized them as a “solution in search of a problem.”  Although it wasn’t a credible critique before, the new ad blocking policy makes it more clear that the problem is on our doorstep.  [Read more…]

Mr. Radio Goes to Washington: Teaming up to Pass the Local Community Radio Act

Cheryl makes presentation on panelCheryl described her role in the broad collaborative ten-year effort to pass the Local Community Radio Act, and offered advice to media activists who would like to succeed in Congress.  National Conference on Media Reform, Boston, MA (April 2011.)  Cheryl’s power point presentation.  Cheryl’s presentation begins at 41:30 in the video.

Orient a New CEO to the Policy Space

NFCB LogoIn early 2010, a membership organization representing community radio stations, the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB), was undergoing a leadership change.  The new President & CEO knew a lot about making community radio, but needed to quickly get up to speed on the key policy issues and policymakers.  Cheryl assisted in the transition between the outgoing and incoming CEOs.  [Read more…]