NAB wants LPFM to keep its distance


Citing "the laws of physics," the National Association of Broadcasters requested that third adjacency protections for incumbent full-power stations remain firmly in place as the FCC and Congress attempt to pave the way for more LPFM stations. But the trade organization had praise for some of the FCC’s plans for the service. NAB EVP Dennis Wharton said, "…in general, NAB is pleased the Commission clarified that LPFM stations must indeed be locally-owned with locally-originated programming, and limits ownership to one station per licensee."

Avoidance of interference remains the critical issue, and NAB continues to dispute the Mitre report that has been used as an underpinning for both FCC and Congress in their effort to expand LPFM service. Wharton said, "Though this is a recommendation identical to one made several years ago by the FCC, NAB continues to believe that statutory third-adjacent channel protections are critically important to protect listeners against interference. The idea that hundreds, if not thousands, of additional LPFM stations can be shoe-horned into an overcrowded radio dial without causing considerable interference simply defies the laws of physics."

Wharton also mentioned the FCC’s notice of proposed further rulemaking. "We share the concerns expressed by Commissioners Tate and McDowell about the Commission’s decision to adopt interim processing guidelines without full notice and opportunity for comment, but we look forward to working with the Commission to find a solution that works for all."

RBR/TVBR observation: Nobody we know of has any philosophical objection to LPFM, but it should be adopted in a deliberate and rational manner. Preferably, the more radical short-spacing proposals should be considered after existing applications are dealt with and full power radio’s conversion to digital broadcast is closer to completion.