You'd expect the issuance of the first construction permits for legal low power FM radio stations in more than 30 years to be accompanied by some fanfare. Last week, when the FCC gave 25 LPFM applicants initial permission to start building their stations, it didn't even bother to issue a news release.
But the ball is rolling now: these selected applicants in five states can now raise their antenna and prepare to start broadcasting. Not surprisingly, none are located in major metropolitan areas, and in many locations the applicants could've applied for a full-power FM station license.
It is disappointing to note that of the first permits to be issued, almost half are going to churches and religious groups, including various Calvary Chapel-affiliated congregations around the country. Religious groups (including Calvary Chapel) have already hogged enough spectrum through the use of automated FM translator stations.
This is diversity? This is increasing community access to the airwaves?
Here's a breakdown of the first Lucky 25: if all goes as planned, these stations could be on the air by as early as this summer.
The FCC has also announced it'll take the final round of applications for 100-watt LPFM licenses in June. The agency originally had planned to hold two more filing windows for 10 states each, but decided to consolidate the two final windows into one to make up for previous delays in the LPFM rollout.