LPFMs Speak Up for More Power
100-watt LPFM stations be allowed to upgrade to 250 watts?
Some 345 comments had been filed as of Thursday afternoon on this and
several related proposals. Most so far are favorable, though comments remain
open at this writing, and it’s likely that industry organizations like NAB will
file near the deadline.
As we reported in April, the push comes from low-power FM
proponent REC Networks, which wants several changes to the rules. These include
higher power; protection parity with FM translators; extending the distance for
minor moves; a change in the definition of local
origination for time-share stations (from eight hours of programming per day to
one-third of daily programming); and removing
the contour overlap requirement in the FM translator rule. REC says its proposal focuses on
enhancing the listener experience in the three-mile LPFM contour and enhancing
coverage within suburban and less spectrum-crowded urban areas.
“There remain several deficiencies
with the WSWO(LP) signal that would be addressed by upgrading to the facilities
in the proposed LP-250 class,” wrote that station in Huber Heights, Ohio.
the 100 watt ERP level, there is significant difficulty in achieving penetration
into many newer buildings some of which are actually within the current 60 dB
contour,” wrote WDFC(LP) in Greensboro, N.C.
“It is our belief that the
modifications proposed under RM-11749 not only would prove beneficial to
operators of LPFM stations nationwide, but vital to their long-term
survivability,” said the CP holder for WKRP(LP) in Raleigh, N.C.
And WFAQ(LP) in Mukwonago, Wis., wrote, “Almost every conversation
with potential listeners involves a tutorial about needing an antenna, and
usually ends with ‘and don’t forget you can listen to us online streaming as
well.’ Running an LPFM is tough enough.”
comments are two- to four-sentence texts like this one: “Please allow the Martin County Radio
station sponsored by the Travel and Tourism to have increased power. It is the only radio
station that gives Severe Weather Alerts specifically to Martin County
residents. It gives public notification of upcoming events within the area. It
informs of news, weather and events.”
But AM station owner Scott Bailey at
WMRO(AM) in Gallatin, Tenn., told the
commission he thinks REC Networks “is asking for more and more for LPFMs, and before
we know it, they will be asking that LPFMs be allowed to be full commercial stations.
… The LPFM applicants got what they wanted, so they should be grateful for what
they have and stop trying to put small 250- to 1,000-watt, commercial AM stations
out of business.”
We’ll report on additional filed
comments (and you can also post thoughts below). Comments to the FCC should be filed in RM-11749.
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