Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

... edited by Barry Mishkind - the Eclectic Engineer    

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The Local Community Radio Act (LCRA) meets
the LPFM and Translator rules


April 6, 2012

The Comment period is now open for persons and companies interested in the LCRA and LPFM to tell the Commission how they feel about the items in the 4th Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making. Commants can be made online. Here is a link to the ECFS (the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System) where you can read existing comments and file your own easily. Although many of the comments are filed by legal and other entities (there were 42 already filed when this was posted) informal comments are welcome from members of the public.

March 19, 2012

The FCC released today the 4th and 5th Report and Order and the 4th Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making that will put new LPFM and translator rules into effect. Together they implement the Local Community Radio Act (LCRA) and seek input for further amendments

There is a large number of items involved, but here are the key points you need to know about.

  1. The FCC will dismiss a lot of translator applications in the top 150 markets. There is a cap of 50 applications per entity and one per market as available. Those in rural areas will likely be approved.

  2. In most places a formula has been put into place to prevent translators from locking LPFMs out of a market.

  3. Any of the new translators now pending may be used for AM stations.

  • The Fourth Report & Order:
    * Sets forth a revised spectrum availability analysis that better identifies and protects areas with
    significant populations where LPFM service is most practical and sustainable
    * Gives translator applicants proposing to serve spectrum-limited areas an ability to demonstrate that their applications, if granted, would not preclude certain identified LPFM opportunities
    * Adopts a national cap of 50 applications and a market-based cap of one application per applicant
    per market for the most spectrum-limited markets, minimizing the potential for speculative
    licensing conduct
    * Modifies the May 1, 2009, date restriction to allow pending FM translator applications that are
    subsequently granted to be used as cross-service translators.
  • The Fifth Report and Order eliminates the third-adjacent channel spacing requirements applicable to LPFM stations.
  • The Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making:
    * seeks comment on how to implement other provisions of the LCRA related to waivers of the second-adjacent channel spacing requirements, third-adjacent channel interference, and interference to the input signals for FM translators.
    *recommends changes to the FCC’s rules to help promote a more sustainable
    community radio service while preserving the technical integrity of all of the FM services.
    *seeks comment on proposals to reduce the potential for licensing abuses and other proposals to promote a vigorous community radio service.
    • Elimination of the LP10 class of service and an increase of the maximum LPFM facilities in certain areas
    • An amendment of the eligibility rules to permit Native Nations to own and operate LPFM stations, an amendment of the cross-ownership and multiple ownership rules to assist Native Nations in establishing radio service to their members living on tribal land, and an addition of a Native Nation criterion to the point system used to select among mutually exclusive LPFM applications
    • Revision of the cross-ownership rule to permit cross-ownership of an LPFM station and FM translator stations
    • Modifications to the way the FCC processes mutually exclusive applications
    • Revision of the established community presence and local program origination criteria
    • Adjustment of the air-time reapportionment policy applicable when a participant in a voluntary time-sharing arrangement does not construct or surrenders its license after commencing operations
    • Removal of the Intermediate Frequency protection requirements for LPFM stations operating with less than 100 watts effective radiated power
    • An extension of the mandatory time-sharing applicable to certain NCE FM stations to the LPFM service

The complete FCC documents can be found at:


The appendicies are found here:

Appendix A:

Appendix B:






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