Mrs. BLACKBURN. I do thank the gentleman from Nebraska, and I am thrilled to stand today in support of the Local Community Radio Act.
Mr. Speaker, this is an issue that I've been engaged in since my days in the Tennessee State Senate. In an age of consolidating radio stations and a competitive marketplace for airtime, this legislation will allow smaller groups to be heard. Indeed, Chairman Boucher has mentioned this, as has Mr. Terry; and it is an important reason for having this low-power radio act available for our communities.
Whether we are talking about the aspiring blues performer in Memphis or whether we are talking about an up-and-coming country star in Nashville or whether we are talking about one of our colleges or universities which is getting on the air and showcasing some of its local talent or some of its personalities--or maybe it is some of our religious organizations or churches--it is a way for them to spread their messages. This legislation does give a crucial voice to these communities.
I was pleased that Mr. Boucher mentioned small businesses that are owned by women and the number of women that we have seen move into the communications field because they had the ability to get to low-power stations and to develop formats in programming that will help them to launch a dream and actually innovate for our airwaves.
We have heard from a wide range of groups. They do stand in support of this. It is a pleasure to stand and support the bill. I urge this Chamber to move forward on passing this legislation.