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Make LPFM a Primary Service, FCC Is Told

Make LPFM a Primary Service, FCC Is Told

Several low-power FM proponents told the FCC they want LPFM to be considered a primary service, so that those stations can’t be bumped off the air when a full-power station moves or raises its power level.
Also, although FM translators are licensed as secondary services, LPFM proponents feel their services should take precedence over those, because low-power FMs originate programming. The issue arose at an FCC hearing on LPFM Tuesday.
LPFM operators also want CPs to be extended to three years instead of 18 months. They said the current time allotment isn’t enough time for grassroots organizations to build stations, LPFM station employees testified.
Other suggestions were made for making it easier for non-profits to obtain a license and manage an LPFM.
“Now that we have a seat at the table, we’d like a slice of the pie,” said Michael Shay, project manager for WRYR(LP) in Sherwood, Md. He and other LPFM supporters said the stations now serve as training grounds for radio talent, practice program and employee diversity and are proving they can operate within FCC rules.
Commissioners who attended the hearing gave assurances the subject would remain an agency priority. FCC Chairman Michael Powell said, “At the commission, we need to continue our efforts” with regard to LPFM. He assured attendees he is personally overseeing the agency’s next step regarding LPFM.
The Media Bureau is working on a Notice of Reconsideration and a Further Notice. FCC Media Bureau Chief Ken Ferree said the agency looks forward to receiving comments on the items when they’re released. Agency staffers were not prepared to discuss what might be in the next LPFM items or when they might be ready, except to say “soon.”