The White House announced that President Bush will send to the
Senate the names of Kevin J. Martin, Kathleen Q. Abernathy, and
Michael J. Copps, three long-time Washington insiders, to fill FCC
vacancies. In addition, Andrew Levin, telecommunications counsel to
the House Commerce Committee, is likely to be nominated by the
White House to replace Commissioner Gloria Tristani, who has
indicated she will leave by the year's end.
Martin, a Republican, was legal adviser to outgoing Commissioner
Furchtgott-Roth. He is currently the Special Assistant to the
President for Economic Policy. He also was Deputy General Counsel
for the Bush-for-President Committee. Martin will be nominated for
a five-year term expiring in June 2006.
Abernathy, also a Republican, is a lawyer who worked in private
practice and at the Commission before taking positions in the
wireless industry. Most recently, she was Vice President for Public
Policy of BroadBand Office Communications; she was formerly Vice
President for Regulatory Affairs for AirTouch Communications. While
at the FCC, Abernathy was a legal advisor to Commissioner Sherry
Marshall and Chairman Jim Quello. Abernathy's term will expire on
June 30, 2005.
Copps, who will fill the open Democratic seat, has spent 15
years in the office of Senator Fritz Hollings in a number of
positions, including Chief of Staff. Most recently, he served as
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Development and as Deputy
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Basic Industries.
It is anticipated that Martin, Abernathy and Copps will be
confirmed by the end of June.
Third-adjacent channel LPFM restriction added
At the direction of Congress, the FCC has adopted low-power FM
station third-adjacent channel interference protection standards.
Although the Commission's original LPFM rules specified co-,
first-, and second-adjacent channel spacings between LPFM stations
and full-power FM and FM translator stations, and co- and
first-adjacent channel spacings between LPFM stations, they did not
include standards to protect either full-power or LPFM stations
operating on third-adjacent channels. Congress enacted legislation
last December requiring the Commission to revise its rules to
include such standards.
As a result, 653 otherwise technically acceptable LPFM
applications filed during the two LPFM windows last year have
become short-spaced to existing full power FM and/or FM translator
stations operating on third-adjacent channels. The Commission will
allow these stations to file minor technical amendments to move up
to two kilometers to bring their applications into compliance with
the new rules. These curative minor amendments were to be filed in
The Commission simultaneously opened its last two LP100 filing
windows for LPFM applications in the states and territories not
included in the earlier LP100 windows. The window closed June 15.
Applicants from the earlier windows that have third-adjacent
channel short spacings of two or more kilometers, and therefore are
ineligible to file curative minor amendments, will be afforded an
additional later window within which to file major amendments that
specify technical facilities that meet the new spacing
The revised rules also eliminate the portions of the
Commission's rules that permitted LPFM applications from pirate
radio station operators that had either (1) voluntarily ceased
unlicensed operation of a station no later than February 26, 1999
or (2) ceased operation within 24 hours of being directed by the
FCC to terminate unlicensed operation. Under the revised rules, an
LPFM license will not be granted to any party who engaged in any
manner, either individually or with a group, in the unlicensed
operation of any station in violation of the Commission's
Jailed licensee fined by FCC
The FCC recently determined that the licensee of a broadcast
station could no longer be legally in charge of day-to-day
operations of the station while incarcerated at the state
penitentiary. The FCC levied an $8,000 fine against the licensee
for effectively transferring the station before going to jail. This
unauthorized transfer resulted from the licensee entering into a
management agreement which delegated virtually all decision-making
authority over the station's programming, staff and finances as to
a non-owner. Although the licensee claimed he was still operating
the station from jail, the FCC stated that imprisonment takes away
one's role in station operations. The licensee is serving time for
Harry Martin is an attorney with Fletcher, Heald &
Hildreth, PLC., Arlington, VA. E-mail
All radio stations in the following states, both commercial and
noncommercial, must file their biennial ownership reports on or
before August 1: California, Illinois, North Carolina, South
Carolina and Wisconsin.
July 10 is the deadline for placing in stations' public files
their quarterly lists of community problems and responsive
programming broadcast during the period May 1 to July 31.