FCC Fleshes Out Priority Debate Over LPFMs vs. Translators - Radio World

FCC Fleshes Out Priority Debate Over LPFMs vs. Translators

Digging into the LPFM text released by the commission, I find intriguing details giving context to some of the decisions commissioners made in their recent meeting.
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Digging into the LPFM text released by the commission, I find intriguing details giving context to some of the decisions commissioners made in their recent meeting.

Expect to hear a lot more about the question of interference priority between LPFMs vs. FM translators. The commission earlier had asked whether and under what circumstances LPFMs should have priority over “prior-filed” FM translator applications. Both are secondary services and the first-filed currently gets priority.

The agency said arguments break down into two possible theories supporting a change in its rule.

The first theory is that LPFM provides a preferable service over translators because the rules require LPFMs to be locally owned and permit local program origination, while translators rebroadcast satellite-delivered national programming.

Some advocates want priority status only for LPFMs that originate local programming, while others want priority over translators that rebroadcast the signals of non-local stations.

NAB, NPR, state broadcast associations and local noncoms all pressed the commission to retain current interference protection rules, arguing there’s no simple way to distinguish preferred stations or programming. Broadcasters also say the notion that program origination or ownership correlates to more desirable programming is unfounded.

Public radio commenters reminded the FCC that translators are a critical part of the public radio infrastructure.

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