How LPFM Stations Can Increase Their Coverage: Translators and Local
Most LPFM stations are interested in increasing their
coverage area. There are
ways to accomplish this within current regulations.
The easiest and best way is to rebroadcast the LPFM signal over a
nearby translator, but the LPFM cannot own the translator. WHRZ-LP 104.1, Spartanburg, SC is rebroadcast on ten
translators and the subchannels of three HD full-power stations.
(It is also legal for a full-power to rebroadcast an LPFM.)
The only limitations are the availability of translators in a
local area and the cost of using them.
LPFM stations can rebroadcast programming from other LPFMs.
For example, let’s say four couples are on the board of an LPFM.
Before the next window, three of the couples could resign from
the board. Each couple could then start their own non-profit
organization, apply for an LPFM in the next Window, and share
programming when they get on the air.
While immediate relatives cannot be on the boards of multiple
LPFM board, there are no limitations on friends applying.
Here are some considerations, based on current LPFM
& Record-Keeping Regulations
Order - Religious Groups can hold NCE Licenses
Most groups attempting to sell .... or buy .... an LPFM do not understand the regulations. Interestingly enough, FCC attorney and LPFM consultants are allowed to make a profit off the related filings, but obviously cannot give "kick-backs" to the seller or buyer. (CCB would glad to answer privately additional questions from any non-profit wanting to divest, or acquire, an LPFM station.
FCC LPFM Regulations -
Answers to Tough Questions
How does the FCC determine power for LPFM station? 100 watts at 30 meters (about 100 feet) above average terrain is the default power. Stations in a hole do not get more than a 100 watts while WWOK-LP, Greenville, SC is so high above average terrain on Paris Mountain that it has only one watt power!
The FCC does not allow stations to request a specific power; in fact most LPFM organizations do not know what their effective radiated power (ERP) will be until they receive their construction permit. In theory, all LPFM stations are supposed to have the same circular coverage. This is not true in the real world with the possible exception of rural Kansas. Virtually all engineers prefer height to power.
Stations wanting more power can move their antenna lower on their tower (but not too low) or move the site to lower ground level. The FCC relies on the accuracy of USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) data. KAAJ-LP in Monticello, UT has 31 watts ERP. After discovering that USGS has confused a mountain for a valley, the station was granted 100 watts because surrounding mountains in several directions are much higher. However, in one direction the station is received consistently 75 miles away - the most jackrabbits reached by any LPFM in the country!
How many hours a day must an LPFM operate and how much programming must be local? The basic requirement for a license is "five hours a day with no local programming." LPFMs operated by schools are not required to operate on weekends, holidays, and during vacations; other stations must broadcast every day.
Are some LPFM required to do more local programming? Yes. When the FCC established LPFM in 2000 applicants were give "points" - one for "established presence," a second for "promising to operate 12 or more hours a day" and a third for "eight or more hours a day of local programming." If several applicants each applied for the same frequency in the same community the applications were "Mutually Exclusive" (MX). Under these circumstances the FCC awarded construction permits (CP) to groups with the most points.
Some applications were unopposed (called "singletons"). It these cases the FCC issued CPs without considering "points." Some LPFM believe is they did not need the "points" and did not keep their original promise. This theory has not be tested; apparently no one has notified the FCC that they were not doing what they promised. (When stations are "sold" (transfer ownership) the new owner must hold "basic qualifications" for an LPFM license but the prospective owner is not asked to comply with any of the "points" requirements.")
Since operating 24-hours-a-day is easy using automated or satellite programming, stations have not questioned the 12-hours-a-day minimum. Even this has its exceptions. Time share stations can operate as little as ten hours per week. Obviously time-share stations are exempt but this is not covered in the regulations.
What is "local programming"? A live round-table discussion of local community and social issues is local programming. Unfortunately, many people believe this type programming - live and talk-oriented - is required. That is an incorrect assumption. Burn a CD containing a station ID and gather your favorite music CDs. Load into a CD player attached to your transmitter. Hit "random play" and you have met all FCC requirements for local programming. Unbelievable, but true.
Some LPFM organizations pledged to air eight hours a day of locally produced programming. To keep that promise programs must be produced "within ten miles of the transmitter location." Loading a CD player or automation system is considered "production." A "song" is not a program; there is no requirement that individual songs must be locally written, performed, and recorded. Obviously covering a sporting event at a nearby high school or college is local. So is airing away games by community teams.
What about the new FCC policy concerning "repetitive program"? The FCC is considering defining "local programming" as "programs that has been aired fewer that three times a week." Here is where it gets complicated: (1) individual songs are not programs and can be aired many times each week, and (2) the FCC does not care what is aired for 16 hours each day (if the station operates 24/7.
As a result, a station could create a four-hour program and air it six times a day. The first airing would be "original programming", the second "an allowed re-airing", and airings three through six would be "programming" outside the eight hour block."
By the way, these rules changes are only proposed and not currently in force. if implemented they probably will be required only for stations seeking "special favors" from the FCC, i.e. the right to make Second Adjacent channel moves. (Proposed rule changes are a separate topic, covered elsewhere.) Is this simple? Of course not!
on Fast Track in 08 - More Action in Two Months than in Two Previous Years
This is evidence that the FCC plans to complete the processing of all remaining 2000-01 applications before opening a new LPFM filing window, probably in September or October of this year
FCC to Finally
Dismiss Thousands of Pending Translator Applications On
December 11, 2007, the FCC released the LPFM Third Report and
Order It established a going-forward limit of ten pending
short-form applications per applicant from FM translator Auction No. 83
and directed the Media Bureau to resume processing of applications of
those applicants in compliance with the cap.
Question: Is the FCC granting permission to change (FM) channels?
Answer: Yes. On October 9, WFBH-LP, Hamilton, AL, was given FCC approval to move from 103.5 (major interference from a Memphis station) to 96.7 (one of seven frequencies available). The FCC gave its OK in seven weeks. First Baptist Hamilton has now ordered a new broadband Nicom BKG77 antenna from CCB and its starting its mass mailing campaign to promote it switchover before Christmas.
Question: How long does it take the FCC to grant minor LPFM mod?
Answer: It varies greatly. On
October 17, 2005 licensed KCIU-LP 103.7, Lawrence, KS was granted
an engineering mod request made September 14 ..... of last year!
(One of the fastest times is three weeks.)
8/3/05 LPFM Assignment of Permit Granted in 23 Days! Voluntary Assignment of Construction Permit for 105.7 MHZ Pennegrove, CA Permit, as amended from: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, PCA To: One Ministries, Inc. (Form 316)
Political Regulations, Other Logging and Record-Keeping Rules, click here
Do You know the Indecency Rules? Click here for a 25-question interactive "true-false" quiz on the rules. WARNING! The quiz out of necessity uses actual vulgar words!
The Federal Communications Commission has launched a new, user-friendly Web site, http://www.fcc.gov/eb/oip,
FCC Fines LPFMs for Not Renewing License
$$7,000 fines: failure to timely file renewal
application and unauthorized operation.
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