LP-250/RM-11749: Now you hear it!
In 2012, after the FCC reached their Sixth Report and Order in which the FCC decided not to create the LP-250 service due to disgreement in the LPFM community mainly around the issue of whether LP-250 should be rural only or have no geographic restriction, REC promised to review the feisibility of both a LP-50 service (50 watts at 30m HAAT) and a LP-250 service after the end of the 2013 LPFM filing window process.
On April 20, 2015, REC kept the promise. REC filed a Petition for Rulemaking to create an LP-250 service without any geographic restrictions.
Unlike previous proposals for LP-250 which were based on the expansion of LPFM services into rural areas, REC is also looking at the LP-250 proposal as a method of allowing LPFM stations to improve their field strength and the ability to penetrate buildings in the critical three mile zone around the transmitter site. Now that 2013 window LPFM stations are on the air and have been experiencing the realities of running their stations, they have also been talking to REC. They have told us about their coverage shortcomings, most importantly, the ability for LPFM to penetrate buildings and reach more listeners inside the three mile zone.
Unlike the previous proposals that were based on rural coverage (which is still a very important use for LP-250), we are also addressing the need to enhance coverage within suburban and less spectrum-crowded urban areas.
REC has also proposed several variations of the proposal that could increase the ability for an LPFM station to be placed, even in areas that may have been "short-spaced" in the past.
We do need to remind LPFM stations that the reality is that not every station will qualify for an upgrade. LPFM stations that are very close to other LPFM stations and FM translators will likely not be able to upgrade. Some LPFM stations near international borders will not be able to upgrade. Some LPFM stations may have to switch channels in order to upgade. Based on the ability for some stations to make the second adjacent channel waiver at the higher power, REC is estimating that 50% to 75% of LPFM stations will be able to upgrade to LP-250.
In the same Petition for Rulemaking, REC also asked for:
- The ability to move stations longer distances as a minor change,
- The removal of a restriction on the placement of FM translators for LPFM stations,
- Relief for time share stations subject to the local programming pledge to reduce the requirement from 8-hours per day to one-third of the broadcast hours per day, and
- Impose a requirement for FM translators to protect the second adjacent channel of LPFM stations.
The FCC assigned the petition RM-11749. RM-11749 was open for comments until June 15, 2015.
Read the Petition that was filed to the FCC.
Read REC's Reply Comments for RM-11749.
Now that the comment period has closed. The FCC will now need to determine if they wish to move this forward to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). Once that happens, another comment period will open up. Normally, if this goes to an NPRM, this means they are serious about doing it. For now, please keep filing your station stories in RM-11749!
THANK YOU TO ALL OF THE STATIONS AND LISTENERS FOR YOUR SUPPORT OF RM-11749!