FCC: Congress never said anything about second adjacent channels

In a landmark decision, the FCC has granted a waiver of several rules to Thin Air Community Radio, licensee of KYRS-LP in Spokane, WA.

The station, currently faced with encroachment from a metro move by a station in Idaho was looking for creative solutions to keep the station on the air. Under the existing rules, the statation was deadlocked as there were no alternate channels available. Thin Air has filed for 89.9 (Ch. 210) at it's licensed site.

The proposed facility was second adjacent short spaced to KEWU-FM, Cheney, WA. Using methodology from the translator rules, Thin Air was able to show that the 130.5 dBu interfering contour only extended 22 meters from the transmitter. Thin Air entered into an agreement with Eastern Washington University, licensee of KEWU-FM with specific conditions on the handling of interference.

The proposed facility was also short spaced under the LPFM rules to KHQ-TV Channel 6. In this case, Thin Air applied regular non-commercial FM rules and used vertical polarization to show that the station would not interfere with Channel 6 in Spokane. Thin Air reached an interference agreement similar to what they reached with KEWU-FM.

KHQ plans to vacate Channel 6 to move to Channel 7 for the DTV transition as noted in their First Channel Election filing.

In its decision, the FCC stated:
Section 632(a)(2)(A) prohibits the Commission from eliminating or reducing the third-adjacent channel protections required by paragraph (a)(1)(A). Congress did not impose a similar prohibition with regard to second-adjacent channel separation requirements. Moreover, Congress is well aware of the Commission's judicially-endorsed "good cause" waiver standard. In these circumstances, we conclude that Section 632 bars the Commission from granting third-adjacent channel rule waivers only.

A copy of the letter granting the waiver can be found here:

Special thanks to John Broomall for the lead on this story.