Radio Free Brattleboro steps aside for new low-power station

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(Host) Radio Free Brattleboro may be nearing the end of its battle with the Federal Communications Commission. The tiny, all-volunteer station, which can only be heard in Brattleboro, has been operating without a license despite FCC efforts to shut it down.

But this week another group, Vermont Earth Works, received an FCC permit to construct a low-power FM station in town. When that station begins broadcasting, RFB says it will step aside.

RFB spokesman Larry Bloch says it’s part of a promise made last March, when voters voiced support of the unlicensed station.

(Bloch) “The question was, shall the voters of Brattleboro authorize Radio Free Brattleboro to broadcast until such a time when another non-profit, all-volunteer, non-commercial, independent, all access community radio station shall be prepared to broadcast? And that time is now foreseeable.”

(Host) Dummerston resident Deb Forrett applied for the permit for Vermont Earth Works. As an illegally operating station, Radio Free Brattleboro wasn’t eligible to apply. Forrett says she hopes community members will help with the new station.

Low-power licensing is designed to give local groups more access to local airwaves. According to the FCC Web site, 13 preliminary low-power permits have been issued so far in Vermont.

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