FCC filing regarding LPFM encroachment and ownership - 8/24/2005

Prometheus Radio, along with a multitude of other independent media organizations, sent this motion to the FCC on August 24, 2005.  It covered the issues of permitting the utilization of contour overlap interference methodology, protecting LPFM stations from encroachment by full power stations, ensuring the localism goals by limiting LPFM ownership to local entities, by restricting multiple ownership of LPFM licences, and by limiting transferability of LPFM licences, as well as having an application window open at regular intervals, and the length of the construction permits.
Read the entire motion at FCC filing regarding LPFM encroachment and ownership - 8/24/2005

 SUMMARY

These comments are filed on behalf of a coalition of low power applicants, permittees and licensees, full power non-commercial broadcasters, and national and local citizens groups representing low power advocates, users and listeners.

The Commission has a duty, not only to protect the LPFM service, but to create new opportunities for the LPFM service. The best method the Commission has for protecting and creating opportunities for the LPFM service is to adopt a more sophisticated methodology for interference avoidance. Thus, the coalition maintains that LPFM applicants should be permitted to utilize the contour overlap interference methodology in the public interest of dispersing the limited LPFM spectrum available. In particular, they argue that the Commission has full discretion to employ a contour method for LPFM, and that Section 632 of the Act is wholly consistent with this view.

Perhaps the greatest threat to the future of LPFM is the Commission’s all-too casual approach to the so-called “encroachment issue. Full power licensees are free to attack nearby LPFM stations through an amendment process which is at this time unavailable to LPFM stations, leaving them helpless to deal with a process that is fatal to them. The Commission should implement policies that generally discourage full power stations from moving out of their original community of license or expanding into an LPFM community of license. Allowing a full power station to change its community of license so easily encourages station owners to move away from the communities that were intended to benefit from the full power service and shuts off a valuable source of programming in the encroached upon LPFM station. If the Commission is unwilling to give LPFMs the primary status they deserve, it should, at the least, administer encroachment cases at the full Commission level and adopt a processing guideline which allows consideration of the public interest effect of encroachment. Stations facing encroachment should also be allowed to make major engineering changes to address the circumstances causing their potential disempowerment.

The key policy concept that should guide the Commission through this rulemaking is strengthening the Commission’s definition, analysis, and utilization of local origination pledges in making decisions regarding the allocation of scarce spectrum available for Low Power FM stations. Additionally, the Commission must ensure the LPFM goal of localism by providing strong local eligibility requirements. To achieve these goals, the Commission should better define local origination, strictly enforce local eligibility requirements and extend applicants’ 10 mile distance limitation to 20 miles.

The Commission should retain its restriction on multiple ownership of LPFM licenses. If it is disposed to change this highly valuable restriction, it should, at the least, make plain that multiple owners are not entitled to a renewal expectancy.

The Commission will cripple LPFM if it eases limits on transferability of construction permits. Consideration for LPFM transfers should not be allowed. There should in any event be a three year holding period on all license transfers to deter abuses.

The problem of determining how to deal with changes in the governing board of a non-commercial licensee is not unique to LPFM. The Commission must address this question and, in particular, develop mechanisms to address emergencies which lead to sudden changes in board composition. The LPFM service will be at once facilitated and stabilized if the Commission were to begin to open LPFM windows at regular two year intervals. The commenters strongly urge this be done. Another important simplification would be to afford 18 months for construction of LPFM, and to allow one additional 18 month period upon good cause shown. .....

 

Read the entire motion at FCC filing regarding LPFM encroachment and ownership - 8/24/2005