The Local Community Radio Act was designed to create a balanced approach to the creation of new LPFM stations as well as the creation of new FM translators. The four members of Congress who steered the bill to the Oval Office applauded the FCC plan to get it done.
That’s not always the way it happens – sometimes the creators of legislation look on in dismay when they see the regulatory interpretation of their work.
But on this occasion, it was kudos all around from senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and John McCain (R-AZ), and representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Lee Terry (R-NE).
They said they were pleased with the FCC plan. A joint letter from the foursome stated, “As original sponsors of the Local Community Radio Act, we commend the Commission for the completion of a market-by-market examination of spectrum occupancy in the top 150 radio markets to determine available space for new LPFM stations. The Commission must weigh many legitimate, yet sometimes conflicting, interests in the implementation of this law, so we are especially pleased to see the Commission take such a careful and balanced approach.”
They said they especially liked the “market test” approach, saying it is a fair solution to a difficult balancing task. “While ensuring sufficient spectrum for LPFM stations in more congested radio markets, this mechanism also provides for the rapid licensing of new translators in markets where such licensing would not unduly preclude new LPFM stations. Through this method, the Commission strikes a fair balance in meeting the requirements of the law, serving the public interest by generating locally originated programming, and addressing the interests of translator applicants.”
They commended the acknowledgement of both classes of FM service, and the provisions to serve the needs of both.
They concluded, “Given the immense community benefits provided by existing LPFM stations to the localities they serve, as outlined in the Commission s recently released I’ port entitled ‘The Information Needs of Communities’ we encourage the Commission to give close consideration to the potential benefits of new LPFM stations in preserving and promoting local news and public affairs, religious, minority, public safety, and other programming. At a time of particular difficulty in the journalism industry the expansion of LPFM will greatly contribute to the richness of local public dialogue and will enhance opportunities for citizens to participate in local civic affairs.” They asked to FCC to license as many LPFMs as possible.
The letter was written promptly on 7/12/11, the day the FCC adopted the Third Further Notice on the proceeding.