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Senate Commerce Passes Bill to Allow More LPFMs

Bill would drop third-adjacent channel protections for most FMs

The Senate Commerce Committee marked up and sent to the floor the Local Community Radio Act (S. 592). The bill directs the Federal Communications Commission to drop third-adjacent channel protection for most FMs to allow more low-power FMs on the band.

The bill provides that the channel protections would not be dropped for noncoms that air radio reading services via FM subcarriers. It requires the FCC, when licensing FM translators, to ensure that licenses are available to both FM translators and LPFMs.

A companion bill previously passed the House Commerce Committee, which means the next step for both bills is the floor, though no votes are scheduled yet.

Co-sponsor Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said, “I am optimistic that we can effectively cross the finish line on this issue this Congress.”

While this Senate legislation has passed out of committee in the previous two sessions, this year marks the first time that the House version passed through the House Subcommittee and Committee.