With commercial broadcast ownership consolidating in fewer and fewer hands, Federal Communications Commission Chairman William Kennard says one of his top priorities is the licensing of low-power radio stations. He says that 1000 non-profit stations, that could be heard within a radius of three and a half miles, would open America's airwaves to the multiple opinions of a diverse citizenry. Applications are pouring in, but a powerful and unlikely coalition is fighting back. Profit-making broadcasters and National Public Radio contend that the low-power stations would create so much interference with existing signals that nobody would be heard. Republicans in Congress have taken their side, even though many applicants for low-power licenses are the religious groups that often support the GOP. It's another growing battle over free speech and the public airwaves.
On today's Newsmaker segment: Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca on his proposal for civilian oversight of his department, and on the takeover of policing duties in Compton, population: 93,000.
On Reporter's Notebook: A column by Richard Riordan in today-s Los Angeles Times warns would-be protesters at the upcoming Democratic National Convention to stay within the law or face tough consequences. Veteran activist Tom Hayden believes Riordan could be creating a self-fulfilling prophecy by pointing to a worst-case scenario of violent clashes. Hear both State Senator Hayden and Los Angeles Mayor Riordan.