Another LPFM advocacy group, the Amherst Alliance, agrees with the Prometheus Radio Project that those who want to operate a low-power FM face a scarcity of frequencies in urban areas and that several are operating as a translator or as part of a religious network rather than as local independent operators. However the group has proposed different solutions.
While Amherst, too, supports the concept of the commission approving second-adjacent channel spacing waivers more routinely, it believes it’s more important for the FCC to change its proposed policy of allowing only LP100 stations (51 to 100 watts) in the center city portions of the Top 100 Arbitron Radio Metros.
“In addition to, or instead of, licensing of LP100 stations in such areas, the commission should license the LP50 stations (1 to 50 watts) that have been proposed by REC Networks — and/or LP10 stations (1 to 10 watts,)” writes Amherst, which believes licensing LPFMs at 50 watts or below in center city areas, could quadruple the low-power frequencies available in some large cities.
LP50s, according to REC Networks, are the only way for New York City and Detroit to have even one LPFM, cites Amherst in its comments to the agency.
Amherst adds that the policy it has proposed would affect less than 1% of the land area of the lower 48 states so the agency could still limit 99% of the lower 48 to LP100s, and/or LP250s of 101 to 250 watts.
As far as LPFMs that are “functionally translators,” Amherst supports the Prometheus call for a program origination requirement for all LPFMs.
Prometheus proposes that requirement begin at 20 hours per week, which works out to roughly three hours per day.
However Amherst proposes LPFMs start originating two hours per day of programming and then ramping up over two years, to eight hours per day. It also urges the FCC to extend the requirement to existing LPFMs and translators, too.