FCC Adopts New LPFM Rules

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Washington - Nov 27, 2007 - The Federal Communications Commission adopted a wide-ranging series of ownership, eligibility and technical rules and seeks comment on additional technical matters in the low-power FM Third Report and Order and Second Noticed of Proposed Rulemaking.

According to the Commission, the order is designed to "foster and protect LPFM radio service that creates opportunities for new voices on the airwaves and to allow local groups, including schools, churches, and other community-based organizations, to provide programming responsive to local community needs and interests." The order allows the transfer of LFPM licenses subject to significant limitations; reinstates the Commission's rule for all LPFM authorization holders to be local to the community and limits ownership to one station per licensee; clarifies that repetitious, automated programming does not meet the local origination requirement; encourages voluntary time-sharing agreements between applicants; imposes an application cap on 2003 FM translator window filers; limits the responsibility of LPFM stations to resolve interference caused to subsequently authorized full-service stations; and establishes a procedural framework for considering short-spacing waivers and a going-forward displacement policy for LPFM stations.

In the second notice of proposed rulemaking, the Commission seeks comment on technical rules that could potentially expand LPFM licensing opportunities; tentatively concludes that full-service stations must provide technical and financial assistance to LPFM stations when implementation of a full-service station facility proposal would cause interference to an LPFM station; tentatively concludes that the Commission should adopt a contour-based protection methodology to expand LPFM licensing opportunities; intends to address the issues in the FNPRM within six months, and that the next filing window for a non-tabled aural licensed service will be for LPFM; and recommends to Congress that it remove the requirement that LPFM stations protect full-power stations operating on third adjacent channels.

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