Congress passed the Local Community Radio Act over a year ago, calling for expansion of the low power FM service and action on long-stagnant applications for FM translators. The FCC proposed a method to deal with the dual and related challenges last year, and at the next open meeting, the Commissioners will have their say on the issue.
The meeting is on the schedule for 3/21/12, with a 10:30 AM kickoff.
Last summer, the FCC proposed determining a market-based solution that would establish a minimum number of new LPFM opportunities per market in the top 150 markets as defined by Arbitron. The proposal: In markets 1-20, it suggest eight LPFM license grants; seven for markets 21-50; six for 51-100; and five for 101-150.
The total identified FM openings would be compared to the target number of LPFM grants. If there is no room left for translators, all pending applications would be dismissed, and if there is room, they would start going through processing.
The LCRA provision allowing 2nd-channel adjacencies would be a key to making it all possible, particularly in large markets.
There was some question as to whether there was any room whatsoever in some of the very largest markets.
TITLE: Creation of a Low Power Radio Service (MM Docket No. 99-25) and Amendment of Service and Eligibility Rules for FM Broadcast Translator Stations (MB Docket No. 07-172, RM-11338)
SUMMARY: The Commission will consider a Fourth Report and Order and Third Order on Reconsideration to implement a market-specific FM translator processing scheme, adopt application caps to prevent trafficking, and modify policies to expand opportunities to rebroadcast AM stations on FM translators.
TITLE: Creation of a Low Power Radio Service (MM Docket No. 99-25)
SUMMARY: The Commission will consider a Fifth Report and Order, Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Fourth Order on Reconsideration regarding proposals to implement the Local Community Radio Act and to strengthen the LPFM service, including second adjacent channel waiver procedures, interference remediation requirements, and modification of eligibility, ownership, and selection standards.