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Bill to Allow More LPFMs Passes Committee

Bill to Allow More LPFMs Passes Committee

The movement to increase the number of LPFM’s on the air has taken a step forward. The Senate Commerce Committee passed a bill to lift 3rd adjacent channel restrictions to allow more LPFMs on the air. The measure, introduced by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz. and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., would also eliminate mandated further testing on the economic impact LPFMs would have on existing full power FMs.
An amendment offered by Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont, to replace the tests that were mandated by Congress but left out of the Mitre study on potential LPFM interference was defeated. It would have required the commission to conduct independent audience testing and an economic impact study and allocated $800,000 in funding.
An amendment to give additional interference protection to New Jersey stations offered by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., passed.
The measure now goes to the full Senate, where it has an uncertain future, given the shortened legislative calendar in this election year.
An LPFM advocate, the Prometheus Radio Project, issued a statement saying the group would work with Lautenberg to get him to revise his position.
NAB released a statement from president/CEO Eddie Fritts: “Low Power FM stations have been and continue to be accommodated but not at the expense of subjecting millions of Americans to aggravating interference. It’s unfortunate that local radio listeners will be the unintended victims of the inevitable interference that would result from shoehorning more stations onto an already overcrowded radio dial.”
According to Prometheus, about 400 LPFMs are on the air.