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NAB to FCC: Don’t Elevate LPFMs Over FM Translators

NAB to FCC: Don't Elevate LPFMs Over FM Translators

LPFM isn’t the front-burner issue it was for many broadcasters a few years back. But details of the low-power rules remain a point of concern for the NAB.
Interference protection between LPFMs and full-power FMs, both new and existing, cannot be limited to co- and first-adjacent channels. So says the association to the FCC in comments filed concerning proposed low-power FM rule changes.
The agency should not license LPFMs as a primary service over FM translators, which have secondary status, and should not suspend translator applications to reserve potential places for LPFMs on channels spaced third-adjacent to full-power FMs, NAB argued.
“Pending applications from the 2003 FM translator window have not impeded, in any measure, the commission’s ability to process LPFM applications under the existing rules,” wrote the trade group, which noted that LPFMs and FM translators are not mutually exclusive and can be viable services next to each other. It asked for the FM translator application freeze to be lifted.
Such interference protection is governed by statute and reducing interference protection for new FMs could deny thousands of listeners the benefits of FM station upgrades or new FM service, including digital radio, said the trade group.
It suggested the agency focus on ways to move LPFMs without causing harmful interference, if they are displaced by FM move-ins or upgrades.
Taking a cue from its rules for low-power television, the FCC could allow a displaced LPFM priority and expedited application processing over similar applications without opening a new filing window. “In light of the very limited number of LPFM stations that have actually been displaced (one), NAB urges the commission to first consider this type of displacement relief,” states the association.