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LPFM Supporters Happy

Several groups offer assistance for frequency searches, tower siting

Supporters of low-power FM radio are pleased that the FCC has announced a filing window for new station applications.

Prometheus Radio Project said the news is long-awaited. “For the first time, low-power radio will be possible in cities like Miami, Houston and Philadelphia,” said Prometheus Policy Director Brandy Doyle.

The nonprofit urges nonprofits who want to apply for an LPFM to begin the paperwork now and use the ZIP code check tool to find an open frequency.

Nexus Broadcast offers help with setting up a nonprofit in order to qualify for an LPFM as well as help with finding a suitable transmitter site.

In a note to members shared with RW, Don Schellhardt of the Amherst Alliance and Let the Cities In notes the agency has yet to file on a petition filed by the latter proposing the agency reinstate 10-watt and 50-watt stations in urban areas.

There are roughly 800 LPFMs on-air now. While 10 years ago, the majority of the thousands of applications that rolled in were unworkable, this time the agency is hoping that with more preparation time and assistance, more of the applications that come in will actually be grantable.

Experts believe it’s hard to predict how many new LPFMs will be attainable, other than to note that more are possible now since the commission dropped third-adjacent protections to most existing full-power FMs to squeeze more LPFMs on the dial. FMs that have radio reading services are exempt from the change.

In a statement, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said he had proposed the Oct. 15 target date for the filing window to give nonprofits time to prepare their applications and to plan their new stations, saying enabling new LPFMs to begin broadcasting is “critical to advancing the commission’s diversity goals.”

The application window for filing for a new LPFM is Oct. 15 to Oct. 29.