It’s been a busy few days as far as news on the low power FM (LPFM) front goes. Advocates like REC Networks are analyzing the recently filed applications and are starting to find some discrepancies. Earlier this week, REC Networks filed informal objections with the FCC in reference to 245 applications that were all prepared by the same individual, arguing that the applications don’t appear to be truly local non-profits. The FCC also released a public notice providing clarification on the LPFM application process this week and revealed that some LPFM applicants could get construction permits as early as January, 2014. The FCC has also dismissed some applications and has marked others as accepted for filing.
At Radio Survivor we’ve been taking a closer look at the nearly 3,000 LPFM applications and have already given some perspective on some of the applicant pools in Los Angeles, San Francisco and environs, have taken a glimpse at some of the applicants affiliated with colleges and universities, and have done a quick scan of some unusual-sounding applicants. As we continue to dissect the data, I was pleased to see a number of applicants associated with high schools, prep schools, and school districts. High school radio stations make up a particularly small subset of non-commercial radio stations, so it’s encouraging to see an influx of energy into this somewhat endangered species.
One applicant, the Coquille School District in Oregon, hopes to create an opportunity for teenagers at Winter Lakes High School to get on the air. The school’s principal is highly supportive of high school radio and three of his children served as managers of high school radio station KMHS in Coos Bay, Oregon. The new station (see its educational statement here) would be an opportunity for students to produce public affairs, talk, and music programming.
Northfield Mount Hermon School is Massachusetts is a rare applicant that can claim a presence in its community for more than 100 years. The college preparatory school’s campus has been in Mount Hermon since 1881 and apparently this longevity caused an error in the FCC’s database when the application was being submitted. In its application, the school states that it has a deep connection with radio since “…the ‘Father of Radio’ – Lee de Forest – was a graduate of our class of 1893. Few inventors have had a greater impact upon the life and culture of our times. From just one of his more than 300 inventions – the Audion (the electronic vacuum tube) – have come such early marvels as the radio and phonograph, radar, the talking picture, and television.”
Also in Massachusetts, Boston Public Schools is applying for a LPFM license in order to create a high school radio station at East Boston High School. The application includes a statement about the importance of student radio and states, “Ultimately, this frequency can become an open and independent forum in which lower middle class and poor urban students, who are so often unrepresented and all but forgotten in our global society, can find their voices…and be heard.”
In Montana, the Harrison K-12 School District applied for a LPFM license in the hopes of providing the community with news, announcements, and emergency information. Entertainment programming might also include music shows and school sporting events. It’s proposed that the station would be run through a school Radio Club or via a Media class.
In Hawaii, Kohala Middle School would like to obtain a LPFM license. The rural public school hopes to integrate the radio program into its academic offerings and according to the application, “The opportunity for live broadcasting by students is an exciting prospect for both our students and the many parents and grandparents in the community, as well as the community as a whole.”
I noticed that a couple of Parent-Teacher Organizations (PTOs) applied for LPFM licenses, including the Floyd Central High School PTO in Floyd Knobs, Indiana and the Northside High PTO in Lafayette, Louisiana. At Floyd Central, the PTO states in its application that the “ADDITION OF RADIO FACILITIES WILL ENHANCE OPPORTUNITIES IN THE AREA OF PUBLIC SPEAKING, ENGLISH, PERFORMING ARTS AS WELL AS ENABLE BROADCAST OF LOCAL GAMES TO THIS RURAL AREA.IT ALSO WILL ASSIST IN SAFETY ISSUES WITH WEATHER AND SNOW CONDITIONS AND SCHOOL CLOSINGS.” At Northside High, the PTO hopes to create a Broadcast Journalism Academy. Proposed programming includes instruction in Cajun French, homework help, science and literature, as well as public affairs programs geared towards the high school audience and informational programming for the local agricultural community.
Additional school applicants exist all over the country, including (but not limited to), Bessemer City Schools in Alabama, Lake Hamilton School District in Arkansas, Yuma Catholic High School in Arizona, Edgewood High School in West Covina (California), Worth County High School in Georgia, Middlesboro Board of Education in Kentucky, Ruston High School in Louisiana, Shead Memorial High School in Maine, Addison Community Schools in Michigan, Roosevelt High School in St. Louis (Missouri), Northern Nash High School (North Carolina), Millard Public Schools in Omaha (Nebraska), Springfield Board of Education (Ohio), North Penn School District (Pennsylvania), St. Peter’s Catholic School (Columbia, South Carolina), Dickson County Schools (Tennessee), Mount Pleasant Independent School District High School (Texas), Massanutten Military Academy (Virginia), Whitefish Bay School District Board (Wisconsin), and Spring Valley High School (West Virginia).
I think it’s exciting to see schools embracing this LPFM opportunity and look forward to monitoring the progress of these applications.
LPFM Watch is a weekly feature on Radio Survivor every Thursday. In this column we will delve into various aspects of LPFM, including profiles of applicants during the 2013 filing window.