The FCC’s full-service noncommercial educational (NCE) filing window earlier this month could result in the displacement of an existing LPFM station if there is an interference complaint from the proposed NCE station.
REC Networks is advising eight LPFM licensees to “closely watch the progress of new NCE applications and be prepared to take remedial action to change operations to a different channel as the result of a potential complaint by a new NCE station or highly intolerable incoming interference.” Low-power FM is considered a secondary service.
The NCE filing window, the first since 2007, included 20 reserved-band channels from 88.1 to 91.9 MHz.
Michi Bradley, founder of REC Networks, stated on her website the FCC will not immediately shut down any LPFM as a matter of course once the full-service stations application is granted. However, if a complaint is sent to the FCC, the LPFM licensee must discontinue operations within 24 hours and only resume operations when directed to do so by the FCC, according to REC Networks.
“Unlike commercial stations, which must include a significant portion of the community of license within the 70 dBu City Grade contour, NCE FM stations operating on the reserved band channels (88.1– 91.9 MHz) are only required to place a 60 dBu contour over at least 50 percent of the designated community of license,” REC stated.
Here’s the list of potentially displaced LPFM stations:
- KAKU-LP Kahului, Hawaii
- KCWB-LP Crown King, Ariz.
- KEQQ-LP Grand Forks, N.D.
- KQLO-LP Clarksville, Ark.
- KTHN-LP Texarkana, Texas
- KWRK-LP Fairbanks, Alaska
- KXWR-LP Tsaile, Ariz.
- WKMP-LP Eastman, Ga.
- WYTC-LP Hyde Park, Vt.
LPFMs on second-adjacent channels of proposed NCE stations are not subject to displacement, according to REC.
The consulting group also placed another 19 LPFM stations on their “encroachment warnings” list for their co-channel and first-adjacent relationship with a proposed NCE FM. Those LPFM stations do not face displacement, but could potentially be operating within the interfering contours of a newly proposed full-service station. REC Networks notes those LPFM stations may or may not suffer incoming interference from the new NCE FM.
“The LPFM station must accept any incoming interference from those full-service stations, and they have no grounds to complain about a full-service station operating with their authorized facilities,” according to REC.
REC said a handful of low-power FM operators are seeking to secure a full-power noncommercial FM and in “most cases those LPFM stations have proposed their own channels.”
The FCC, which had more than 1,200 applications filed in the November NCE window, said it has begun to process NCE applications and is expected to announce winning bids that faced no competing applications. The FCC then will reach out to competing applicants with mutually exclusive applications and urge them to reach a settlement prior to completing the award process.
The FCC has said once the licensing of noncommercial FMs is completed, it expects to open another filing window for low-power FMs.
Comment on this or any article. Write to [email protected].