Statement of REC Networks: NYT article on Radio Sputnik also touches on FM translator to LPFM interference

In response to the New York Times article "Playing on Kansas City Radio: Russian Propaganda", 

"This article unknowingly raises a totally different issue that some of us have been working on.  This is the disparity in federal regulations between how program-originating LPFM stations (such as the jazz station depicted in the story) and program-relaying FM translators (the transmitter carrying the AM station that carries Sputnik), both being supposedly by law (Pub. Law 111-371) to be "equal in status" to have such disparity in how each service protects the other.  LPFM stations must protect translators on the same channel by being at least 20-25 miles away, yet this FM translator is allowed to be spaced 7 miles away because they operate a directional antenna that LPFM stations are not allowed to have.  In addition, the FCC has no rule that requires FM translators to prove that they built with a correct antenna.

REC has been working to try to address these disparities with the FCC (MB Docket 19-193), but Chairman Ajit Pai's FCC has "tentatively rejected" our proposals to put LPFM and FM translators on a level playing field from a protection standpoint despite a statutory mandate that the services are "equal in status".

It is important to remember the jazz station was there first.  The interfering FM translator came in as a result of Pai's "AM Revitalization" initiative which resulted in thousands of new FM translators and thousands of existing facilities reshuffled. 

...and all of this at the expense of diverse local radio."

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ABOUT REC NETWORKS: REC Networks is an unincorporated entity owned and operated by Michelle Bradley.  Since 1984, REC has been providing information, entertainment and support which today, includes regulatory advocacy related to spectrum access, especially for community broadcasting.  REC also provides programming for J1 Radio, a Canada-based cluster of internet radio stations providing Japanese-language entertainment world-wide and one English-language network, REC-FM.

Michelle Bradley
202 621-2355