The Local Community Radio Act is the law of the land, but it falls on the FCC to make it happen, and as is often the case in Washington, a significant amount of time can elapse between a presidential autograph on a bill and the first actual result of that bill. Such is the case with the bill to increase the number of low power FM stations.
The topic will be on the FCC’s July Open Meeting agenda Tuesday 7/12/11, and the driving force behind the LPFM service, Prometheus Radio Project, will be paying close attention to the proceedings.
The thrust of LCRA is to make it possible to squeeze LPFM stations on the dial in crowded urban areas by eliminating 3rd adjacency protections for incumbent full power FM stations. The bill provides recourse for incumbents experiencing interference and also is supposed to pave the way for new FM translators in addition to new LPFMs.
The FCC will be looking at a mandate to produce a study of the possible economic effect LCRA will have on existing stations.
In a statement, Prometheus said, “The rules must comply with a mandate from Congress to ensure that channels will be available for low power FM community radio in urban markets. They will set a balance between low power stations and translators, which repeat the signals of larger stations. Prometheus and other public interest advocates are working for rules to give urban communities a voice on the airwaves.”
Prometheus policy director Brandy Doyle said, “We look forward to seeing the FCC’s proposal on July 12, and we are ready to push for stronger rules if necessary. Commercial broadcasters must share the airwaves with the urban churches, schools, and non-profits who have waited more than a decade to serve their communities with radio.”