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LPFM Compromise Passes House

NAB says it got what it wanted to protect interest of incumbent stations

The House has passed a compromise bill to expand low-power FM, with the blessing of the National Association of Broadcasters. NAB has long said it isn’t opposed to LPFMs but to interference that it said could be caused by expanding the service in the wrong manner. The bill would have to be acted on by the Senate to take effect, but the NAB’s endorsement makes that seem likely.

NAB said it sent a letter of support to Reps. Mike Doyle and Lee Terry early Friday morning, which appears to have removed blocks to the bill. NAB lobbyists appear to have been working with legislators to craft an acceptable compromise.

The bill would lift third-adjacency protections, but “all the other channels are more adequately protected,” an NAB spokesman told Radio World. “The bill puts into statute an FCC rule that states full-power stations have primary status. It also clarifies how the FCC will more adequately protect full-power stations against interference.These are amendments that the NAB Radio Board endorsed in late 2009.”

In a statement, NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith said the bill “will expand the number of LPFM stations in the U.S. while providing full-power radio stations with the protection and clarity we have long sought. NAB salutes today’s House action and offers its support for Senate passage as well.” NAB added that it plans to extend “an invitation to supporters of low-power FM to an event at NAB headquarters heralding passage of the legislation.”