WGXC-90.7 FM

LPFM could mean more Hudson Valley radio

Aug 17, 2013 12:02 am
Many more radio stations could be coming to the airwaves in the Hudson Valley and across the country, as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opens a window for non-profit groups to apply for licenses to broadcast to rural towns and urban neighborhoods. Peter Doyle, head of the FCC's media division told WGXC in an interview Fri., Aug. 16, that up to 15 new low-power FM (LPFM) stations could be launched in a market such as Albany, New York. The commission has made a simpler application process for the low-power FM stations, easy enough for community groups who might not have a lot of technical radio knowledge, but could gather community voices. In 2001, after almost a decade of protests, civil disobedience on the airwaves, court decisions, and lobbying, Congress first allowed a limited LPFM program, while mandating a test to determine if the tiny broadcasters would interfere with large stations. Over 800 stations got on the air from that action, including WBCR-LP in Great Barrington, Ma. Mike Wise, the president of WBCR's board, told WGXC on Fri. Aug. 16, that, "I think the original project had a lot of enthusiasm, had a lot of people involved who were active in the community, and those people have mostly drifted away." Wise says they are now treading water, struggling to keep the station on the air. WBCR was set to expand a few years ago, winning a construction permit for a full-power station with an antenna in Columbia County, which would have covered much of the WGXC listening area. Wise says WBCR transferred their full-power construction permit to New England Public Radio, because they could not raise the money to get a larger station on the air. Applications for low-power FM stations are due to the FCC in October, and the FCC is hosting a webinar on Wed., Aug. 20 for anyone looking for more information or to ask questions about the LPFM application window.