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FM Mod Approvals Delayed by LPFM Concerns

In other news: An issue with LPFMs is affecting full-power FMs.

In other news: An issue with LPFMs is affecting full-power FMs.

This from a session at the NAB Radio Show in Charlotte last week.

The FCC says about 25 low-power stations could be displaced by modifications that full-power FMs want under the agency’s new streamlined city of license rules.

Full-service FM mod applications are being held up if the change could threaten the service on an LPFM, commission Audio Service Division Chief Peter Doyle confirmed in response to a question by an engineering consultant.

The issue is important because LPFMs are licensed as secondary services and normally must yield to new or improved full-service stations. Though there’s been no policy change, Doyle said, the commission is seeking solutions to keep those LPFMs on the air.

FCC actions might be “on our own,” with the commission conducting channel searches, or the agency “might be going to full-service stations and seek their consent” to allow an LPFM on a second-adjacent channel, he said.

The commission has yet to resolve LPFMs’ push to be considered a primary service or resolve whether the ban on LPFMs on third-adjacent channels of full-service stations should be lifted. The commission has had a “six-month freeze” on FM translator applications pending for nearly 2-1/2 years, he noted, due to the related LPFM issue.

Meanwhile, bills have again been introduced in both houses of Congress to lift the third-adjacent channel restriction and at least one will receive attention soon, I hear. NAB has favored the restriction, citing interference concerns.