Broadcasters are fortunate to have one of their own – former radio station group owner Greg Walden (R-OR) – firmly in place as Chair of the influential House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski just released a letter from Walden and his Vice-Chair Lee Terry (R-NE) seeking assurances that the ascent of more LPFMs would not result in FM translators being thrown under the bus.
The duo pointed out according to the language of the Local Community Radio Act of 2010 that the two services are to be treated equally when new channel assignments. They also said that the FCC should not consider the number of existing translators when doling out new licenses, as that would tilt the playing field in favor of LPFMs, which they said was not the intent of LCRA.
They also said that dealing with LCRA should not delay processing of existing translator application.
The letter was dated 3/14/11. In a 6/20/11 reply, Genachowski said that he turned over the letter to appropriate staff, and stated, “Commission staff is currently evaluating the existing policy for processing FM translator applications in light of the LCRA directive to ensure that licenses are available to both FM translator stations and LPFM stations. The next formal step is for the Commission to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to examine this and other provisions of the LCRA. Any step forward will provide ample time for the public, as well as Members of Congress, to comment on the proposals our staff recommends. I look forward to engaging with you further as we undertake implementation of the LCRA.”