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MMTC Praises FCC’s LPFM, Translator Pitch

Commission-proposed proposal will increase minority station ownership, says advocacy group

“The commission finally has the opportunity to bring LPFM to urban areas.”

That is the perspective from the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council. It supports the FCC’s action this week to implement the Local Community Radio Act and ensure spectrum availability for new low-power FMs and FM translators.

LPFMs are important to minority broadcasters and the audiences they serve, writes MMTC President/Executive Director David Honig in a letter to the commissioners.

“For broadcasters, low-power radio provides an entry point to those who lack access to the capital needed to enter the full-power radio market,” stated Honig. He said “the loss of EEO” and demise of the minority tax certificate program, in addition to consolidation of commercial radio ownership, have raised barriers to minority ownership.

He believes the commission’s proposed market-based approach to locating LPFMs and FM translators in a market will “ensure sufficient spectrum for LPFMs in more congested radio markets” and also help the agency resume processing translator applications.

The commission looked at the top 150 radio markets and proposed a tiered channel system for approving LPFMs, from five in the smaller markets to eight in the largest. Once that threshold has been met, the agency would process pending translator applications in those markets.