NPR says: Radio on!

Your April 17 editorial "Hometown Radio" distorts National Public Radio's (NPR) position on low-power FM (LPFM) service. NPR, a community-based system of nonprofit stations, has never opposed LPFM. We have always stated that LPFM can be compatible with and complementary to existing public radio. To assure compatibility, we ordered realistic FCC field tests for interference between LPFM service and NPR broadcasts. We also sought reasonable protections from interference for rural translators and radio reading service for the blind.

Approximately 9 million Americans, many in rural communities, receive public radio through chains of translator stations carrying signals over mountains, prairies, etc. In addition, more than 100 member stations provide services on subcarrier channels, enabling vision-impaired Americans to hear volunteers read indispensable daily information like bus schedules and local grocery sale items. Lacking adequate FCC protection, these services are most vulnerable to interference.

Field-testing is the cornerstone of the Radio Broadcast Preservation Act of 2000. This law, with wide bipartisan support, provides for immediate licensing of LPFM stations and FCC field tests in nine markets to measure interference from LPFM to existing public stations. The FCC has approved construction permits for dozens of 100-watt LPFM stations. NPR supports this.

Your editorial mistakenly asserts NPR has lost sight of its local roots. In fact, NPR's 270 member stations are licensed to community organizations, school boards, universities, and native American tribes. Each station designs its own format, combining local programming with programs from NPR and other sources to serve its audience.

Kevin Klose Washington President and CEO, National Public Radio

Whose day?

On Earth Day 2001, the planet is at its hottest since temperatures were first recorded, and scientific predictions of climate change are more dire than ever before. Much of the nation is in energy crisis. Since Earth Day last year, tens of thousands of species have disappeared from the planet, and about 80 million humans have been added.

The Monitor might have used a front page article in its issue before Earth Day to publicize innovative approaches to these critical issues. Instead, in your April 20 article "Bush walks fine line on ecology," you defended a president whose policies on family planning, energy production, energy consumption, and endangered species threaten to exacerbate these grave problems. Does this mean that we can expect some sympathetic coverage of the earth on Presidents' Day?

Matthew Orr San Francisco

Liberal use of 'conservative'

Citing our recent report on high school marriagecurricula in your April 17 article "Terms of endearment," you call us a "conservative" organization. Why? We have liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, on our board, on our staff, and among our funders and supporters. Our whole approach is to bringtogetherscholars from across the political spectrum and across the human sciences.

To us, labels like "conservative" and "liberal" are usually part of the problem, not the solution.

David Blankenhorn New York President, Institute for American Values

No free press bodes badly for Russia

Regarding your April 18 opinion piece "Russia's dying free press": Stifling an independent press is the surest sign that the current administration has run out of airspeed. It's the same old story in Russia: vodka days and frigid nights. No hope for the future when the only distraction is warfare.

Bill Veon Raleigh, N.C.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must include your name, address, and phone number. Mail to One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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