There may be room to expand low-power FM service into major cities, a new
report has found.
Restrictions barring LPFM stations from operating on third-adjacent
channels from full-power stations are not necessary, according to a Mitre Corp.
report submitted to the Federal Communications Commission June 30.
The restrictions essentially blocked the introduction of low-power stations
in most urban markets, where radio dials are typically too crowded to permit
LPFM introduction and still maintain third-channel protections.
Congress imposed the restrictions in 2000 after an aggressive lobbying
campaign by the National Association of Broadcasters convinced lawmakers to
tighten rules for low-power, which had just been created by the FCC.
The FCC originally planned to permit low-powers to operate on channels only
three stops on the dial from existing stations.
Mitre concluded that LPFM stations can be operated on third-adjacent channels
from existing full-power outlets provided that "relatively modest" separations
between a few tens of meters to slightly more than a kilometer are maintained.
Third-adjacent-channel protections are the standard separation for full-power
FCC officials would not say whether the report gives them grounds to
eliminate the third-adjacent protection.
Future of Music Coalition spokesman Michael Bracy called the report "a slam
dunk" for adding LPFMs to the dial.
NAB officials on Monday said they were reviewing the study and not prepared
Comments to the FCC on the report are due Sept. 12.