The Senate Commerce Committee passed a bill to increase the number of low-power FMs on the air.
In a consensus vote, the committee sent S.1675, the Local Community Radio Act of 2007, to the floor; a vote has not yet been set.
The bill, sponsored by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., drops third-adjacent channel protections. A companion bill, H.R.2802, was introduced earlier in the House.
The committee has moved twice in the past to expand LPFM service however the measures died without passage.
Supporters say this time, the move to expand LPFM enjoys bi-partisan support. LPFM backers, such as the Prometheus Radio Project, believe hundreds, if not thousands of new stations could be created.
NAB is one of the groups that oppose dropping the interference protections to full-service broadcasters and says the engineering research used by proponents to justify removing third-adjacent channel protections is flawed.
Crafters note that when the FCC created the LPFM service, the commission stated it was committed to the effort only if the new service “does not cause unacceptable interference to existing radio service.”
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin reiterated this position earlier this month when he said he would support the committee’s efforts to expand the number of LPFMs.