Events taking place in Washington over the next month will determine the fate of the low power radio legalization effort in America.
The FCC approved the new LPFM service in January, and began taking applications for new stations this summer. However, when Congress tentatively approved legislation to severely curtail the new rules, the FCC effectively put all LPFM work on hold, and has temporarily suspended the next application filing window, which was to be opened this week.
The forces fighting for and against low power radio are both gearing up for this final faceoff. The commercial broadcast interests, fueled by deep pockets and close connections on Capitol Hill, are making a final lobbying push to get Congress to kill LPFM through its federal budget approval process. If that doesn’t work, Plan B involves a court challenge to the FCC’s new rules.