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FCC Press Release on LPFM

FCC Press Release On LPFM

Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 /
TTY: 202/418-2555

January 20, 2000

NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:David Fiske (202) 418-0513


Washington D.C. --The FCC today voted to create a class of radio stations
designed to serve very localized communities or underrepresented groups
within communities by authorizing two new classes of noncommercial low
power FM radio services (LPFM).

In authorizing the new services - (1) LP 100, with power from 50-100 watts
and a service radius of about 3.5 miles; and (2) LP10, with power from 1-10
watts and a service radius of about 1 to 2 miles - the Commission said it
is adopting interference protection requirements based on distance
separation between stations to preserve the integrity and technical
excellence of existing FM service and to not impede the ability of existing
radio stations to transition to digital transmission capabilities. The
Commission said the new service would enhance community-oriented radio
broadcasting. Broad national interest in LPFM service was demonstrated by
the thousands of comments received from state and local government
entities, religious groups, students, labor unions, community
organizations, musicians, and others supporting the introduction of a new
LPFM service.

The Commission said that to prevent interference, it will impose station
separation requirements between new LPFM and existing radio stations on
co-, 1st- and 2nd- adjacent and intermediate frequency (IF) channels, but
will not impose 3rd adjacent separation requirements because the
engineering data and tests in the proceeding demonstrated that 100 watt
LPFM service will not cause any unacceptable levels of interference to
existing radio stations separated by three channels.

Applicants for new or modified LP100 or LP10 facilities will be required to
meet minimum station separation distances to protect the service contours
of (1) authorized commercial and noncommercial FM stations of all classes;
(2) existing FM translator and booster stations and any LP100 stations; and
(3) full-service FM, FM translator and LP100 facilities proposed in
applications filed before a public notice announcing any LPFM application
filing window.

The Commission said a noncommercial service will be the best way to bring
additional diversity to radio broadcasting and serve local community needs
in a focused manner with LPFM stations. Eligible licensees can be
noncommercial government or private educational organizations, associations
or entities; non-profit entities with educational purposes; or government
or non-profit entities providing local public safety or transportation
services. However, LPFM licenses will be awarded throughout the FM radio
band and will not be limited to the channels reserved for use by
noncommercial educational radio stations

The Commission said that to further its goals of diversity and creating
opportunities for new voices, no existing broadcaster or other media entity
can have an ownership interest, or enter into any program or operating
agreement, with any LPFM Station. In addition, to encourage locally
originated programming, LPFM stations will be prohibited from operating as

To foster local ownership and diversity, during the first two years of LPFM
license eligibility, licensees will be limited to local entities certifying
that they are physically headquartered, has a campus or has 75% of their
board members residing, within 10 miles of the station they seek to
operate. During this time, no entity may own more than one LPFM station in
any given community. After two years from the date the first applications
are accepted, in order to bring into use whatever low power stations remain
available but unapplied for, applications will be accepted from non-local

For the first two years, no entity will be permitted to operate more than
one LPFM station nationwide. After the second year, eligible entities will
be able to own up to five stations nationwide, and after three years, up to
ten nationwide. LPFM stations will be licensed for eight-year, renewable
terms. These licenses will not be transferable. Licensees will receive
four-letter call signs with the letters LP appended.

Applications will be accepted in designated filing windows. The first
filing window to be opened will be for LP100 licenses. After the bulk of
these applications have been processed, the Commission will open a filing
window for applications for LP10 licenses. The Commission said it expected
opportunities to remain for LP10 stations.  The Commission will announce in
a subsequent Public Notice a designated five-day filing window for LP100
applications after the effective date of the LPFM Order, which will be 60
days publication of this Order in the Federal Register. The Commission said
the filing window system is preferable to a first-come/first-serve filing
system that could disadvantage potential applicants. Electronic filing is
permissible but not mandatory.

Mutually exclusive applications for the same license will be resolved by a
clear-cut selection process awarding applicants one point each for (1)
certifying an established community presence of at least two years prior to
the application, (2) pledging to operate at least 12 hours daily, and (3)
pledging to air at least eight hours of locally originated programming
daily. Time sharing proposals will be used as a tiebreaker if applicants
have the same number of points. Where ties have not been resolved, a group
of up to eight mutually exclusive applicants will be awarded successive
license terms of at least one year for a total of eight years. These
eight-year licenses will not be renewable.

Eligible licensees will be subject to the same character qualifications as
are currently applied to full power licensees. The  Commission said that
entities that had broadcast without a license in the past could apply for
LPFM licenses if they certify (1) that they had voluntarily ceased engaging
in unlicensed operations no later than February 26, 1999, without specific
direction from the FCC, or (2) that they had ceased engaging in unlicensed
operations within 24 hours of being advised by the Commission to do so.
Entities who continued illegal broadcasting will be ineligible for any
broadcast license. LPFM stations will be required to broadcast a minimum of
36 hours per week, the same requirement imposed on full power noncommercial
educational licensees. They will be subject to statutory rules, such as
sponsorship identification, political programming, prohibitions of airing
obscene or indecent programming, and requirements to provide periodic call
sign announcements, and will be required to participate in the national
Emergency Alert System.

LPFM stations will not be subject to the FCC's main studio, ownership
report and public file requirements. The Commission said it expects that
the local nature of the LPFM service, coupled with the eligibility and
selection criteria being adopted, will ensure that LPFM licensees will meet
the needs and interests of their communities, and thus LPFM licensees will
not be subject to a locally originated program requirement.

Subsequent information on the LPFM application process will be available on
the FCC's LPFM website at or interested parties
can call the FCC's toll free telephone number 1-888-CALLFCC

Action by the Commission January 20, 2000, (FCC 00-19)
Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, and Tristani, Commissioner Powell
dissenting in part, Commissioner Furchtgott-Roth dissenting, each
Commissioner issuing a separate statement. MM Docket No. 99-25 - FCC -
Mass Media Bureau Contacts: Susanna Zwerling (Service Rules) 202-418-2600
Keith Larson (Engineering) 202-418-2600

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