If the FCC decides not to issue LP-10 licenses, it should fully explain its reasoning to the public.
That’s the opinion of Don Schellhardt and Nickolaus Leggett (whose 1997 petition helped prompt FCC deliberations on whether to create an LPFM service). They say so in comments filed in reaction to a proposal by translator advocate Kyle Magrill.
Magrill wants the FCC to explore using 10-watt stations as a way to fit more translators and LPFM stations than currently foreseen, particularly into large markets.
Schellhardt and Leggett reminded the FCC that when it set the first LPFM rules in place 11 years ago, it said it planned to open a filing window for LP-100 applicants and then open a window for LP-10s; but nothing came of that.
“The FCC’s decade of total silence on this matter has already taken a toll on the commission’s credibility,”wrote Schellhardt and Nickolaus Leggett, “first, by breaking a public promise without providing even the courtesy of an explanation, and second, by leading people to wonder what secret the FCC might be trying to hide.”
They made clear that they didn’t agree with everything in Magrill’s lengthy proposal to improve the LPFM service. But they encouraged the commission to examine Magrill’s maps and research. “This analytical work indicates that several 10-watt LPFM stations can ‘fit’ into each of several large metropolitan areas: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas/Fort Worth.”
They suggest that LP-10s should only be licensed where applicants can document that the estimated population density for the proposed service area exceeds a specified threshold, such as 3,000 persons per square mile.