Public wins in court over low-power FM

Jun 09, 2009 3:53 pm
From Matthew Lasar in Ars Technica:
Supporters of low-power FM (LPFM) radio won a victory on Friday when a federal appeals court rejected a lawsuit to stop the Federal Communications Commissions from protecting LPFM stations from full power station signal interference.

"This is terrific news for the low power radio community," declared Sakura Saunders of the Prometheus Radio Project, which helps LPFMs. "Now, these stations can focus on serving their local communities, rather than live in fear of displacement due to the whims of their full-powered neighbors."

On the other hand, the advocacy group that defended the LPFM service was circumspect about the win. "The decision in the courts merely protects the status quo," noted the Media Access Project in a statement sent to Ars. "Congress still must pass legislation to allow more low-power FM stations to operate nationwide."

There's also the question of how to ensure the funding these stations need to more effectively serve their signal areas. More about that later, though. First let's look at the nuts and bolts of this case.....

All this is music to the ears of Congressmember Mike Doyle (D-PA), who, along with Lee Terry (R-NE), has a bill pending that would dump that third-adjacent rule once and for all. There's a parallel proposal in the Senate backed by Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and John McCain (R-AZ). No big surprise what Doyle thinks should happen now: "Congress should enact the Doyle-Terry-McCain-Cantwell legislation," he told Ars, "to dramatically expand the number of low-power FM stations the FCC is allowed to license."
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