Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Theses that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



non-commercial, community, radio, low power, public interest, LPFM service


The introduction of the Low Power FM (LPFM) service by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provided a unique glimpse into media policy-making. Because usual allies disagreed over the service, the usually invisible political nature of the debate was made transparent. The project of this thesis is to contextualize the histories of radio policy, non-commercial radio, and the public interest standard to shed light on why it was so challenging to implement even a small, local radio service. Secondly, the thesis will explore the theoretical understandings of the various players in the LPFM debate, as well as the practical functioning of these tiny stations. This project also challenges the low power advocates and media reform movement to actively fight for more substantive media policy regarding civic protections.


First Advisor

Mari Castaneda