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Comments Due in August for LPFM-Translator Proposal

Tiered, market approach for locating new LPFMs suggested; FM translator application dismissals in some markets

Federal Register publication has triggered the deadlines for public comments in the FCC’s recent action to implement the Local Community Radio Act and license more low-power FMs — as well as reach a compromise on the question of spectrum priority between LPFMs and FM translators.

Comments are due by Aug. 29 and replies by Sept. 12 to MM Docket 99–25; MB Docket 07–172.

In a third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FCC seeks public input on a proposed processing policy for thousands of pending Auction 83 FM translator applications. It hopes to open a new application window for LPFMs by summer 2012.

The commission has proposed a tiered, market-by-market approach for determining how many LPFMs and FM translators can fit in a market, and seeks comment on that. It also proposes to dismiss all pending FM translator applications in markets where there’s not enough spectrum for LPFMs, but to process translator applications in markets that meet the LPFM channel “floor” criteria.

The agency plans to drop a cap of 10 FM translator applications per entity; it seeks comments on that as well as ways to prevent trafficking of FM translator construction permits and whether to expand opportunities for AM stations to rebroadcast their signals on FM translators.

— Leslie Stimson