The FCC just released the tentative agenda for its March open meeting, to be held March 21. LPFM and translator stations are on the agenda:
Creation of a Low Power Radio Service Report and Order: The Commission will consider a Report and Order to implement a market-specific FM translator processing scheme, adopt application caps to prevent trafficking, and modify policies to expand opportunities to rebroadcast AM stations on FM translators.
Creation of a Low Power Radio Service Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Report and Order: The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding proposals to implement the Local Community Radio Act and to strengthen the LPFM service, including second adjacent channel waiver procedures, interference remediation requirements, and modification of eligibility, ownership, and selection standards.
The proposed orders and rulemakings have not yet been released.
The FCC is sitting on a pile of unresolved translator repeater station applications. Since the passage of the Local Community Radio Act LPFM stations are now competing for many of the same spots on the dial, leaving the Commission to decide how to resolve the conflict. As Matthew reported yesterday, NPR is urging the Commission to clear the backlog of translator applications before opening an FCC. Most of the commercial radio industry, as well as the largest religious broadcasters share that view.
LPFM and community radio advocates want new low power stations to have a fighting chance before translators fill up the most desirable frequencies, especially in larger markets that did not qualify for LPFM prior to the LCRA.
With luck the FCC will release its proposals soon.