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Group Presses for Lower Wattage LPFMs

Let The Cities In urges agency to act on petition to allow low-power FMs of 50 watts and below

LPFM advocacy group Let The Cities In would like the FCC to allow authorization of low-power FMs smaller than 100 watts. The group filed a petition in February proposing that LP10 stations (1–10 watts) and/or LP50 stations (1–50 watts) be allowed in “urban core” areas of the Top 100 Arbitron Radio Metros.

In a recent note to FCC commissioners, LTCI representative Don Schellhardt says the plan would help make room for more LPFMs in cities like New York, Detroit and San Jose. With the current allocation plan, there’s only room for two 100-watt LPFMs in Los Angeles, for example, Schellhardt tells Radio World, citing channel search data from REC Networks.

“Our argument is they allow translators below 50 watts,” and the group believes lower-wattage LPFMs should be authorized as well, says Schellhardt.

When the agency approved its LPFM allocation plan, the commission said it didn’t believe stations smaller than 100 watts would be economically viable and could possibly cause interference with other stations on the FM band.

The group urges the commission to act on its petition soon, so if approved, those groups wanting to apply for a lower-wattage LPFM can have enough time to prepare their paperwork.

The agency plans to open an LPFM application window Oct. 15–29.