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FCC Rejects Appeals of New LPFM Tech Rules

Petitions to reconsider came from several advocates of low-power FM

The Federal Communications Commission has now adopted the draft LPFM order we told you about a few days ago.

The commission officially said no to a petition for reconsideration of LPFM technical rules it adopted in 2020. Those rules expanded permissible uses of directional antennas, redefined LPFM “minor” changes and allowed LPFM cross-ownership of FM booster stations — but they did not include a power increase or eliminate a requirement that LPFMs use appropriately certified transmitters.

The petition to reconsider was a consolidation of filings by Todd Urick of Common Frequency, Paul Bame of Prometheus Radio Project and several LPFM broadcasters.

They argued for the increased limit of 250 watts; for doing away with the certification requirement; and for doing away with certain procedural requirements in connection with the use of directional antennas. But the commission now has dismissed or denied their arguments.

It also said no to a former LPFM permittee, Foundation for a Beautiful Life, that hoped the commission would allow its 2020 rules to apply to earlier cases that had already been decided.

Finally, the new order corrects an error in the 2020 rule change. When it amended the rules to permit LPFM stations to retransmit their signals over co-owned FM booster stations, it meant to include the words “or FM translator.” Now it has done so.

The adopted order can be read here. (As it sometimes does, the FCC acted early rather than at its scheduled meeting, so this item has now been removed from its Thursday agenda.)

And as we have reported separately, a different proposal to allow 250-watt LPFMs is currently open for comments.