FCC VOTES TO PURSUE NEW RULES TO EXPAND LOW POWER RADIO TO URBAN AREAS
RULEMAKING IN RESPONSE TO COMMENTS SUBMITTED BY CA NONPROFIT COMMON FREQUENCY
“The Media Bureau has carefully reviewed the Common Frequency study. It has found that the methodology is reasonable.”
- FCC's THIRD FURTHER NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULE MAKING, MM DOCKET 99-25 (FCC 11-105)
On Tuesday July 12, 2011 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted for a proposed rulemaking that will make room for new non-commercial Low Power FM (LPFM) broadcast channels in major urban areas.
Earlier this year, President Obama signed new legislation allowing for the proliferation of low power FM (LPFM) radio service—a service that was first proposed by the FCC in 2000. Even with the legislation, no channels may have existed for new applicants in many major urban areas - even before the FCC could open a filing window for them.
The debate lay over balancing the licensing of translator (repeater FM stations) and LPFM service. Both services compete for the same FM channels.
Last year, the FCC indicated it would use a modified processing regime to license many of these translators. Common Frequency submitted studies to the FCC demonstrating that after licensing these translators according to the FCC's proposed protocol, almost no FM channels would be left for LPFM service in urban areas. Common Frequency provided to the FCC simulations and select market studies showing the impact of using the proposed “10-cap” processing proposal.
On July 12, the FCC voted on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing Common Frequency's concerns. The FCC proposes balancing LPFM and translator service based upon research data including stipulating possible market-specific tiers for systematic dismissal of translator applications in order to preserve space for new LPFM service in major cities. Such a proposal will lead to the proliferation of LPFM service in cities nationwide, Nonprofits, schools, and churches would thus have a true opportunity to apply for new radio stations to serve their cities.
Common Frequency's studies are available for viewing below: