Watchdogs press FCC on LPFM


WatchdogsAn organization focusing on the media needs of Hispanics wants to make sure the full potential of LPFM in terms of diversifying control of America’s airwaves is realized. Another wants to open the door to 2nd-adjacent channel stations.

The Local Community Radio Act took 3rd-adjacent channel protection away from incumbent FM stations; however, that didn’t free up many channels in the extremely crowded FM dial in America’s largest media markets.

Free Press is suggesting that modern technology allows stations to be packed closer to one another without causing interference. It says the FCC should take advantage of this and grant 2nd-adjacency waivers, a move that will vastly increase the number of opportunities to create a large-market LPFM station. “For example,” if said, “in the greater Atlanta region, waivers could put as many as 25 new stations on the air. In Denver, it could be as many as 23; in Houston, 18.”

Meanwhile, the National Hispanic Media Coalition wants to make sure members of minority and niche organizations have a fair chance to compete for LPFM licenses. It want to make sure that filing windows are long enough to give small organizations adequate time to prepare an application; and it wants to install a requirement that calls for a minimum of 20 hours of local programming weekly to assure that the service is not taken over by national organizations seeking network outlets.

“Women and people of color are vastly underrepresented as owners of broadcast stations. Low power community radio stations offer us the first chance in quite some time to try to move the needle on ownership and serve some of our communities that have long lacked a voice. It is incredibly important that we get this right the first time and our recommendations provide a sound framework for the Commission to build upon,” said Jessica J. Gonzalez, Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs for NHMC.