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Interference Compromise Disenfranchises Listeners, LPFM Proponents Say

Coalition claims FCC’s plan will negatively affect “any radio listener not living in a single-family home” 

A group of LPFM advocates, including more than 100 LP stations as well as advocacy groups Common Frequency, Prometheus Radio Project and Media Alliance, say the FCC’s plan to streamline its interference complaint process will negatively affect “any radio listener not living in a single-family home.” 

That’s according to the petition for consideration filed by group, under the name The LPFM Coalition. They filed in response to the commission’s rulemaking amending Part 74 of the rules regarding FM translator interference in FCC 19-40. 

While the FCC says its goal is to “strike a balance,” the coalition believes the results are quite unsatisfactory.

“Listeners would become disenfranchised from their constitutional right to request redress when suffering from interference” because the rule change limits interference complaints to one per building, known as the “One Building / One Complaint” rule.

In a statement on Prometheus Radio’s website, coalition member and WPPM(LP) Philadelphia Station Manager Vanessa Maria Graber stated, “It’s unacceptable that the FCC would ignore complaints from millions of people of color in urban areas and college students who are more likely to live in large apartment buildings. Their right to listen to community and college radio without interference should be prioritized and included in any complaints about encroaching translators.”

[Inside the New Translator Interference Rules]

The coalition also argues that the rule change could undermine the Local Community Radio Act of 2010. Specifically, they say the legislation “mandates efforts to develop community-based low power radio stations to meet the fundamental media needs,” while this change “undermines the efforts to foster hyper-local stations by making spectrum impossible to find in many well-populated areas.”

Another problem, the coalition says, is that the rule change improperly would affect old/existing interference disputes, thereby Administrative Procedure Act, which does not allow “such retroactive rulemaking.”

Read the full petition online here.