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McCain, Leahy Introduce Low Power FM Bill

McCain, Leahy Introduce Low Power FM Bill

Commerce Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said soon after the FCC’s Mitre report on LPFM was released last year that he would introduce a bill to allow more low-power stations to be authorized. Now McCain, along with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has introduced legislation to remove the 3rd-adjacent channel protections for LPFMs.
Advocates such as the Prometheus Radio Group say if passed, “thousands” more low-power stations could be authorized. About 300 LPFMs are on the air now, according to the group.
“Community radio has been choked back by incumbents for long enough. Clear Channel and the rest of the commercial broadcasters can’t hide behind engineering arguments anymore. The NAB can’t tell us that there is room on the dial for eight of their stations on the dial, and no place for community radio,” said Pete Tridish, a former pirate broadcaster, now technical director at the Prometheus Radio Project.
Opponents maintain the “Mitre” study for potential interference if the 3rd adjacent channel protections were removed was technically sloppy and inadequate.
“It is unfortunate Sen. McCain is relying on the deeply flawed Mitre study in supporting the authorization of more low power FM stations,” said NAB President/CEO Eddie Fritts. “Local radio listeners should not be subjected to the inevitable interference that would result from shoehorning more stations onto an already overcrowded radio dial.”
McCain said his bill, called the “Low Power Radio Act of 2004,” responds to Mitre’s recommendations to the FCC “by removing any further delay in low power FM radio implementation and eliminating the need for any further testing.”