Posted by: cinnamonlaw | October 14, 2009

Congress to Abolish Third-Adjacent Protection for FM Stations

The Telecommunications Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives has sent on to the full House Commerce Committee a bill called the Local Community Radio Act of 2009 which is intended to increase the proliferation of low-power FM (“LPFM”) stations.    Based on a study conducted in 2004, the FCC concluded that third adjacent channel protection of full-power FM stations by LPFM stations could be dropped without impacting the service provided by the full power station.  If applicants do not have to protect third adjacencies, it will make more space available for LPFM stations, especially in medium and large markets where the FM bad is already pretty tightly packed. 

Similar bills were introduced in 2007 and 2008 but did not advance very far, however the players have changed. The new administration, the new FCC chairman and a majority of the current commissioners support greater diversity of ownership, and more local radio outlets. In fact, the FCC made clear that the next filing window for low power FM stations of any kind will be for LPFM stations.

The question is what effect will the presence of third adjacent LPFMs have on full-power FMs. What do YOU think?

For continued continued reporting on the bill’s progress, click here to view the Open Congress website’s coverage.

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