House Bill Revisits Local Radio, LPFM Rules

March 6, 2009

Washington - Mar 5, 2009 - The Local Community Radio Act of 2009 was introduced in the House of Representatives on Feb. 24, 2009. Listed as H. R. 1147, the bill seeks to implement the recommendations of the Federal Communications Commission report to the Congress regarding low-power FM service. The bill was introduced by Rep. Michael Doyle of Pennsylvania, and it carries the support of 28 other representatives. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Citing the effects of consolidation and financial incentives for broadcasters to reduce local programming and rely on syndicated programming, the bill revisits many of the LPFM arguments. The bill says that the average cost to acquire a commercial radio station is $2.5 million. Because of the costs and consolidation, the bill says that, "many local communities are unable to establish a radio station."

When LPFM was introduced, one goal was to avoid it compromising the integrity of the existing FM radio band. After conducting a study to determine the effects of adjacent-channel interference, the FCC issued a report to Congress on February 19, 2004 that stated "Congress should readdress this issue and modify the statute to eliminate the third-adjacent channel distance separation requirement for LPFM stations." In 2007, the FCC reaffirmed LPFM and again suggested lifting the requirement that LPFM stations protect full-power stations on operating on the third-adjacent channels.

This bill again seeks to eliminate the third-adjacent minimum distance separation requirements between low-power FM stations, and full-service FM stations, FM translator stations, and FM booster stations.

While the effort has not yet been passed, the new government leaders may see fit to allow the change this time.

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