David Oxenford at the Broadcast Law Blog reports
that the Federal Communications Commission is accepting preliminary comments
on a new low-power FM proposal
. The idea, from REC Networks
, would raise the maximum power for LPFM stations from 100 watts to 250 watts, to put them at equivalent power levels with FM translator stations. If made into policy, low-power FM station signals would have much better building penetration, and some other interference issues would be improved. The FCC has only so far announced they have received the proposal and are taking preliminary comments for 30 days. If there seems to be interest in the proposal, a formal Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, would ge announced, with another round of public comments. REC's proposal would not just expand LPFM coverage, but roll some back. "It also suggests limiting what it calls “Foothills” LPFM stations – those that are located in areas where their coverage in certain directions is helped by terrain factors to go beyond what is normally predicted for such stations," Oxenford writes. Other parts of the proposal:
• Allowing minor moves up to 11.1 km for LP-100 stations and up to 14.1 km for LP-250 stations.
• Removing the contour overlap requirement for LPFM commonly-owned FM translators.
• Add additional protections for LPFM stations in respect to FM translators.
• Relief for the local programming requirement for LPFM stations on time share agreements.
Comments on REC’s proposal RM-11749 can be filed through June 15 at the FCC's website