FCC Adopts Rules to Expand LPFM, Looks Ahead to More Changes

The FCC late Tuesday adopted ownership, eligibility and technical rules to increase the number of LPFM stations.
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The FCC late Tuesday adopted ownership, eligibility and technical rules to increase the number of LPFM stations.

It also sought comment on additional technical rules.

The order allows the transfer of LFPM licenses subject to significant limitations; reinstates a commission’s rule that all LPFM authorization holders be local to the community and limits ownership to one station per licensee, and clarifies that repetitious, automated programming does not meet the local origination requirement.

It also encourages voluntary time-sharing agreements between applicants, imposes an application cap on 2003 FM translator window filers, limits the responsibility of LPFM stations to resolve interference caused to subsequently authorized full-service stations and establishes a procedural framework for considering short-spacing waivers and a going-forward displacement policy for LPFM stations.

In a Second Notice of Proposed Rule-Making, the commission asked for comment on technical rules that could potentially expand LPFM licensing opportunities; tentatively concludes that full-service stations must provide technical and financial assistance to LPFM stations when implementation of a full-service station facility proposal would cause interference to an LPFM station; and tentatively concluded that the commission should adopt a contour-based protection methodology to expand LPFM licensing opportunities.

The FCC also said it intends to address the issues in the further notice within 6 months, and that the next filing window for a non-tabled aural licensed service will be for LPFM. It also recommends to Congress that it remove the requirement that LPFM stations protect full-power stations operating on third adjacent channels.

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