Pieces of the low-power FM puzzle in this country continue to fall in place. The FCC acknowledged some 2,819 applications were filed in the November 2013 LPFM filing window. That number was lower than the expectations of some observers.
The FCC moved quickly to identify 900 technically acceptable LPFM applications that don’t conflict with others and then soon after released a list of groups vying for the same frequency. The commission has said it will provide expedited processing for all amendments, settlement requests and time-share agreements filed during a 60-day window to resolve technical conflicts among competing applications.
Texas had the most LPFM applications filed with 303, followed by California and Florida with 283 and 276 respectively, according to agency data.
More LPFMs are expected to be authorized in urban areas because of the relaxation of some interference rules by the FCC. In fact, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Miami, Tampa and Portland, Ore., each had 10 or more applications filed, according to the FCC.
Several thousand new low-power FM radio stations could be on air within the next two years if industry observers are accurate in their estimates.
Low-power FM stations, which broadcast at a maximum of 100 watts and typically reach seven to 10 miles from the antenna, must be licensed to nonprofit entities; they often are operated by community groups, schools and churches.
There were 3,258 low-power FM applications filed in the earlier window of 2000–01, according to the FCC’s data. There are approximately 800 licensed LPFMs at present.