On Friday the FCC’s Media Bureau released the list of 111 LPFM MX groups in 24 eastern states and the District of Columbia. The states are: CT, MD, DC, DE, IL, IN, KY, MA, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WI, and WV.
MX groups are ones where multiple low-power FM community radio applicants are competing for the same frequency in a given location. The Commission has also identified the so-called “tentative selectees,” which are the applicants who are likely to receive a construction permit. Beginning Monday applicants have until December 8 to submit changes to their applications that might alter the outcome.
The FCC’s determinations are based upon a point system, awarded for aspects related to local service. These are:
- Established community presence
- Eight hours of local program orignination per day
- A publicly accessible main studio, staffed at least 20 hours per week
- Diversity of ownership, where the applicant has no “attributable interests” in another broadcast station
- Tribal stations serving tribal lands
If an applicant can demonstrate that its application qualifies for points that it has not been awarded, then that station’s chances may improve. More commonly, two or more applicants may choose to enter in a time-sharing agreement which may give them an advantage over others competing for the same frequency.
Also, in some cases there are open LPFM-eligible frequencies remaining in the same community. This may happen because an applicant’s earlier engineering study didn’t identify these frequencies, or because all submitted applications for that newly open frequency have all been dismissed. If such frequencies can be identified an applicant in an MX may petition to move to it.
In general, the FCC prefers that applicants work things out amongst themselves, especially in groups where several applicants have a winning number of points.
Some of the biggest MX groups in this window include two in Philadelphia, where there are eight applicants competing in one group, with seven qualifying as tentative selectees. Another group in that city has six applicants, all with the same number of points. Minneapolis, MN also has a group of eight applicants and seven potential winners. In Milwaukee, WI, one group has eight applicants competing, with five of them having a winning number of points.
However, so far the record for the biggest MX group is held by Los Angeles where ten applicants were competing for one frequency.
REC Networks is maintaining a scorecard of the MX groups in this window, also tracking their petitions for changes.
Applicants from the first set of MX groups in western states have until October 8 to submit their change petitions.