LPFM Roundup

There’s been a change of leadership within the Amherst Alliance. Don Schellhardt has left the post of president after several years of hard but not futile work, for which he deserves a boatload of thanks. The new Amherst honcho is Stacie Trescott.

REC Networks is again on the ball with “a special message for listeners of K-Love and Air-1” about Educational Media Foundation’s misguided anti-LPFM public comment crusade.

Finally, Mediageek’s got some prognostications on the shape and form of the FCC under the second coming of Bush II. It’s agreeably cynical.

LPFM Construction Permit Casualties

REC Networks has published a list of LPFM construction permits that have either expired or are set to expire within the next six months. The list includes several dozen stations that may/will not be. Many of those that have expired are CPs awarded to various state Departments of Transportation: these stations were to beef up existing AM-based travelers’ information networks. Most likely they were budget casualties as state governments across the nation struggle to stop hemorrhaging red ink.

March of the Low-Band God Squad

This article was initially written for/published in the Wisconsinite, a now-defunct alt-biweekly newspaper in Madison, WI.

Under the guise of evangelism several religious broadcasting entities are mounting a full-scale invasion of the FM dial. This invasion exploits a couple of little-known provisions in FCC regulations that provide these broadcasters the opportunity to flood open frequencies with low-power transmitters. In very real terms these “godcasters” are crowding out the potential growth of new community radio stations.

Key to this ploy is a type of FM radio station known as a translator. Translator stations range in power levels from 1 to 250 watts and cannot air locally-produced programming. The FCC created the translator class of FM radio station initially to serve as a booster for full-power FM stations that operate in areas where terrain (like mountains) may block their signals.

Over the years many individual radio stations have applied for and received licenses to operate translators to extend or fill in gaps in their primary coverage area. In Madison, for example, Wisconsin Public Radio maintains a 10-watt FM translator station on 90.9 since WHAD-FM, The Ideas Network’s primary FM outlet (based in Milwaukee), does not provide adequate coverage to the Madison area and the next-closest nearest Ideas Network FM outpost, in Highland, cannot be reliably heard in Madison at all. Similar translators help boost or extend the reach of other WPR stations around the state. Read More

Translator Invasion’s Impact on LPFM Quantified

The following are results of a preliminary study conducted by REC Networks analyzing the impact a flood of more than 13,000 FM translator applications filed last year are having on the potential growth of bona-fide local LPFM stations. REC is undoubtedly refining this information; visit their web site for more.

Bracketed text are additions to the original.

We surveyed 10,000 census designated communities, which if the translator applications that were filed during the March 2003 (Great Translator Invasion) window did not exist would be able to have some form of LPFM: Read More