The FCC has announced that they will accept applications for new community stations next year! There is much work ahead for the Commission as it now must clear a backlog of pending applications for other stations.
The next LPFM filing window has been tentatively set for October 15 2013, nearly 13 years after the first LPFM window! The report & order passes 5 to 0 today.
Second Adjacent frequency waivers have been approved! New low power stations may be as close as the “second adjacent frequency” to neighboring stations, as long as they don’t cause interference. Previous rules prevented anything closer than three channels separation which greatly reduced or eliminated LPFM stations anywhere outside of rural and suburban areas.
Now this is progress! Low power stations may now own up to two FM translators. A translator repeats the new rule can dramatically improve a station’s coverage. Previously LPFM stations could not own any other broadcast properties.
More points to settle Mutually Exclusive applications. The FCC has created an extra credit “point” for stations pledging to maintain a publicly accessible studio that is staffed (by volunteers or paid staff) at least 20 hours each week. The new “main studio” point will ensure that genuine community-run stations have an advantage in the competitive licensing process over network or satellite fed stations with no local presence.
Other key information from the meeting:
- LPFM LP-10 eliminated
- Sequential licensing is gone. Mandatory time-sharing is in. No more than 3 stations in a timeshare group.
- Native nations may own up to 2 LPFM and 4 translators.
- Rural Translator applications may not be moved out of the rural area in the first 4-years.
- 50-cap changed to 70-cap nationwide, no more than 50 in metro markets. 1-to-a market is now 3.
- 70-cap will allow for 20 additional applications in rural areas. Must protect LPFM and not overlap each other.
Though the window is nearly a year away, now is the time you must get started if you wish to apply for a new Low Power FM Radio station in your community. There are several steps you need to take in preparation and this next 11 months will pass quickly. Let’s get started on getting your new radio station on the air today!