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LPFM Power Boost Coalition Forms

Group to pursue LP250 station power level

A group of low-power FM advocates is unhappy with the current LP100 (50–100 watts) power levels approved for those facilities.

In its recent decisions regarding expanding the LPFM service and the processing of pending FM translator applications, the commission didn’t act on a proposed 50 or 250 watt class of stations, saying it didn’t have enough information; the agency also eliminated the 10 watt class, calling them spectrally inefficient.

An ad hoc group was formed to try to get the commission to reconsider its decision “to exclude LP250 stations (101–250 watts) from the expansion of the LPFM radio service. Major LPFM advocates proposed the LP250 class as a way to improve signal range and financial viability for LPFM stations located outside of densely populated areas.

Based in Tallahassee, Fla. the group is calling itself the Power Boost Coalition. Members include Conexus LPFM Advocacy of Colorado, Mid-Atlantic Engineering of New York, the Amherst Alliance of Connecticut, Delta Star Radio of Florida and more than 20 other LPFM supporters. 

“NPR and the NAB shouldn’t declare victory yet,” according to Alan McCall, an aspiring LPFM broadcaster with Tallahassee’s Delta Star Radio and a temporary spokesperson for the coalition. PBC continues to recruit members and plans to elect an official leader later this month.

“We will take no immediate action at the FCC,” McCall explained, “because we do not wish to disrupt the LPFM filing window which is currently unfolding. Instead, we will file a Petition for Rulemaking in 2013, asking for the commission to take action in 2014 — after the LPFM filing window has closed. At that time, where feasible and appropriate, licensed LP100 stations should be permitted to upgrade to LP250 stations.”

The New Jersey Broadcasters Association, meanwhile, has been vocal about keeping interference from all sources down in the state. NJBA attorney John Garziglia said in the latest NJBA newsletter that the action on the 10 watt class, “was the result of the NJBA’s strident, consistent efforts opposing 10 watt LPFMs.” but for the efforts of the NJBA, there would be a far greater potential for interference from LPFM stations to New Jersey FMs, according to Garziglia.

He did acknowledge that LPFMs may become a training ground for future broadcasters, just as AM carrier current college radio stations were in past decades.