Sep 9, 2011

NPR weighs in on FCC proposal to clear spectrum for LPFMs

Regulatory wrangling over the FCC's proposed rule-making for low-power FM stations is heating up.

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers on Sept. 7 urged the commission to license as many LPFMs as possible as it implements the Local Community Radio Act, according to The Hill. Meanwhile, formal comments from competing broadcasting interest groups are rolling into the FCC.

NPR is among the broadcasters objecting to the commission's proposal for opening FM frequencies in urban areas. Rather than dismissing some 1,800 pending translator applications from full-power broadcasters to make way for new LPFMs, as the FCC has proposed, NPR urges the commission to wade through its massive backlog of applications from 2003 and approve those that would not obstruct new LPFM service.

WCLK-FM, an African-American public station that broadcasts NPR News and jazz in Atlanta, is among the translator applicants that would benefit from the approach proposed by NPR's policy team.

In its comments to the FCC, filed Sept. 6, NPR also urges the commission to adopt rules prohibiting spectrum trafficking by translator applicants and barring AM broadcasters from retransmitting their signals on FM translators.

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