FCC further clarifies that LPFM stations are required to carry pre- and post- filing announcements
REC has been contacted by Albert Shuldnier, Audio Division Chief to notify us that the Bureau has reviewed the issue of on-air public notice of renewal notices. The new interpretation is that §311(a)(1) of the Communications Act requires this public notice and that LPFM can't be exempt from a provision in the Communications Act.
Therefore, the new opinion of the Commission's Media Bureau is that LPFM stations ARE REQUIRED TO CARRY PRE AND POST FILING ANNOUNCEMENTS.
The Media Bureau will take no action on any LPFM stations in MD, DC, VA and WV that filed in the first renewal window. However, the expectation is that for all remaining renewal windows, that LPFM stations air the pre- and post- filing announcements.
While LPFM stations are not required to keep a public file, stations should place a note in their station records to certify proof of compliance with these rules. LPFM stations participating in LPFM Voluntary Public Inspection File can also upload a copy to the VPIF but they should still keep a copy in their records.
We note that this is a policy change from information that was not only communicated by staff but was even published on the FCC's website.
We do note that it is very likely that we may soon have some additional direction that newspaper public notices may be required for LPFM stations. Consistent with the full-service and FM translator rules, the only times newspaper public notices are required is for original construction permits, major change applications made during a filing window and for assignment applications where the entity (owner) of the station is changing (e.g. not board member changes in an existing organization).