FCC LPFM Decision FAQ
This FAQ includes some questions that have either been asked directly to REC or to the various lists. Please contact us if you have any site specific questions.
Please note that at this time, we do not have the actual text of the FCC's Report and Order (R&O) that will implement these new rules and policies. This document is not expected to be released until next week. But without the R&O document, we will try to answer some of the questions the best that we can.
What proof will new LPFM applicants have to show that they do not interfere with second adjacent channels?
The process is the same one that is used by FM translators. It is sometimes referred to as the Living Way process. In a very small area around the LPFM transmitter, there must be zero potential listeners. A potential listener can be population in residences, workers in an industrial location or drivers on a 4-lane highway. REC's myLPFM can help measure the size of those overlap zones. In some cases, the overlap zone is smaller than the distance between the antenna and the ground and therefore would not cause any interference. The closer the LPFM station is to the second adjacent full power station, the better.
Will the new second adjacent waiver policy also apply to existing stations wanting to move (or have been displaced)?
In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the FCC stated that the existing second-adjacent waiver policy violated the LCRA because the current policy can cause some interference because of population within the U/D overlap zone. It is REC"s understanding that the new LPFM policy, which is the same as the current policy for FM translators will apply to moves, channel changes due to displacement as well as new stations. We are not yet sure how the policy will apply to LPFM stations that are currently on second-adjacent waiver STAs under the current policy. Hopefully, this is addressed in the R&O.
If I have an LPFM station already, does the new rules allow me to own a second station?
For most of us, no. Only Native Nations are permitted to own two LPFM stations. Also, unless something has changed in the R&O, local governments proposing a travelers information service may own multiple LPFM stations within their jurisdiction. (73.855(b)) Under the new rules, LPFM licensees will be allowed to have an attributible interest in up to two FM translators (up to 4 for Native Nations).
Is it true that LPFM applicants must notify second adjacent (waiver) full power stations and that LPFM and full power stations must cooperate in second adjacent channel situations? Do you have to get "permission" from a full-power station on a second-adjacent channel?
No. This was something the NAB wanted. In this comments, In Commissioner Ajit Pai's statement, he stated:
One thing missing from these rules is a requirement that a low-power station seeking a
second-adjacent waiver serve its request on potentially affected FM stations. Such a requirement
would impose a minimal burden and would make it easier for those FM broadcasters to weigh in
early with any concerns. I nonetheless encourage low-power applicants and full-power
broadcasters to work together to address potential interference problems before low-power
stations commence operations, and I hope the Media Bureau will alert full-power stations of
second-adjacent waiver requests that may affect their operations. Prolonged interference
disputes will not serve anyone’s interests: not low-power operators, not full-power broadcasters,
and certainly not the listening public.
There is no notification requirement. I am sure those in the full-power industry who are concerned about second adjacent channel short spacing will have the tools to detect whether an LPFM application has filed on a certain station's second adjacent. Once the LPFM application is accepted for filing, the full power station will have a chance to file a Petition to Deny if there are suspected defects in the LPFM's waiver request.
Was LP-250 approved?
There was no mention of it in the Media Bureau's presentation. REC feels that LP-250 (and LP-50) were removed from consideration at this time due to the controversy stemming from the same distance separation for LP-250 as there is for LP-100. Some full power interests claimed that this violated the LCRA. While REC disagrees with this statement, we feel that the FCC moved on the side of caution to prevent the LPFM window from being jeopardized due to another Petition for Reconsideration or litigation.
What is considered a "new entrant" for the additional selection point?
We are not prepared to answer this question until we review the R&O.
The window date was announced as October 15, 2013. This is a Tuesday. I thought filing windows always started on Mondays.
October 15, 2013 was given as a target date. Also, this date was given by a Commissioner, not the Media Bureau. The Media Bureau disclosed in their presentation that the filing window is targeted for "October, 2013".
Will the main studio point and the bonus point for programming apply to existing LPFM stations?
We are speculating right now that this will only apply if an existing LPFM station files for a major modification and that the new facilities are mutually exclusive to new station applications.
Will existing LPFM stations be allowed to file major modifications in the next window?
We believe so. It has not been confirmed but it is common in broadcast windows to allow major modifications.
I have one translator in a spectrum limited market. I am not sure if based on the new rules if it will be granted.
If you only have one translator pending and you are not subject to the national cap of 50 translator applications in the "Appendix A" markets and 70 translators overall, your translator is eligible to move forward (granted if singleton or placed in the MX group) in the process as long as the translator is not short spaced to any of the LPFM Channel Points that were defined by the FCC earlier this year. To see those channel points, use the REC Channel Points Viewer.
Now, let's make this question a little different and let's say you have 3 pending translators in a spectrum limited market. In this case, one of your three translators is subject to the policy above meaning as long as the application is not short spaced to an LPFM Channel Point, the application may move forward. For the remaining two pending applications, these may only move forward if:
- it is not short spaced to LPFM channel points,
- it does not use the only available LPFM channel at the transmitter site, and
- the 60 dBu service contour of the pending translator application does not overlap the 60 dBu service contour of any of your other commonly-owned translators (either applications or granted).
What if my pending translator application is in a market with existing LPFM stations?
If the LPFM stations are already granted, then you only need to protect them under 74.1204(A)(4) of the FCC rules. The R&O does not require any additional protections for existing LPFM stations. After the LPFM filing window opens and the LPFM applications are pending and you choose to move your translator or change channels, pending LPFM applications are treated as full facilities (100 watts at 30m HAAT, omnidirectional).
We wil answer more questions as we get them. If you have any, use the Contact REC Networks link on the recnet.com page.