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Are LPFMs Affecting Economics of Commercial FMs?

Comments are due today, while Leggett and Schellhardt suggest a surprising answer

So exactly how does the presence of LPFMs affect business at full-power commercial FMs?

Comments to the FCC on the economic impact are due today (MB Docket 11-83). Congress mandated an FCC study.

Nick Leggett and Don Schellhardt told the FCC in comments that rather than hurting revenues or having no impact, there could be a third possibility: “that LPFM is having, or at least under certain circumstances could be having, a positive impact on the revenues of full-power commercial stations.”

Years back, Leggett and Schellhardt co-authored what they consider the first petition that helped trigger an LPFM rulemaking.

Now they say LPFMs can be an incubator for successful technological innovation, which could then be replicated at full-power commercial stations. LPFMs also can train individuals to work at full-power stations eventually.

These two objectives could be met if more full-power broadcasters looked to LPFMs to hire and if the commission would stop licensing LPFMs that originate little of their own programming, they argue.

Leggett and Schellhardt urged the commission to consider that LPFMs also have an economic impact on local communities, including providing underwriting announcements for businesses that cannot afford commercial ad rates.

The agency also is reviewing whether LPFMs affect listening levels of commercial FMs. Leggett and Schellhardt say buying such market research likely is beyond the means of the average LPFM.