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LPFM Watch: No Ads on LPFM HD, San Francisco Grants, and More LPFM News

As of yesterday, the FCC has granted 1341 new low power FM (LPFM) applications from the fall 2013 filing window. As the process continues, new questions have cropped up, including queries about HD on LPFM. After some sleuthing with the FCC, Radio World reported this week that LPFM stations are not authorized to sell advertising or allow others to air ads on their HD frequencies.

According to Radio World, “It appears that U.S. low-power FM and noncom educational stations may not, in fact, sell ads on their digital multicast channels. Nor may they lease digital subchannels to entities that do…”

We’ve been covering confusion over this issue after a commentary piece in Radio World raised the topic of HD on LPFM and subsequent LPFM experts pointed out that commercials were probably not allowed on a LPFM HD signal. Radio World acknowledges the conflicting accounts and points out that this still may not be the final world. Paul McLane writes, “The commission has not formally ruled directly on much of this, so nothing here can be considered a ‘last word.’ But the following remains true: No public broadcaster may make its facility available to any person for any advertisement.”

3-Way Time-Share in San Francisco Bay Area

Also this week, more LPFM applicants in San Francisco have been granted construction permits. I’m still amazed to see all of the new LPFMs in urban areas, as everyone predicted that they would be a rarity. In the case of the latest San Francisco grantees, they are part of a three-way time-share arrangement for 96.9 FM, which includes Chinese Culture and Art Heritage Foundation (San Francisco), Sound of Hope Radio Network, Inc. (San Francisco) and Peralta Community College District (Oakland, CA). These three applicants are the last folks standing in what was once a larger mutually-exclusive (MX) group of at least six applicants. Some of the applicants were dismissed, while others made amendments to their applicants and moved out of the group.

Peralta Community College District plans to use its new station to air programming from Laney College’s student radio station 9th Floor Radio. According to the time share agreement, it will broadcast from midnight to 6:59am and from 7pm to midnight every day. Sound of Hope Radio Network will air Chinese language programming from 12noon to 6:59pm every day. The Chinese Culture and Art Heritage Foundation plans to focus on “multicultural diversity” and its programming will “serve as a bridge between the Chinese communities and American society, by providing programs that allow new immigrants to assimilate into the American way.” Its broadcasts will air between 7am and 11:59am daily, per the time-share agreement.

Another Time-Share in the San Luis Obispo Area in California

On the Central Coast of California, United Way of San Luis Obispo County (Arroyo Grande, CA) and Central Coast Maintenance Association (Nipomo, CA) have been granted their construction permits for new LPFM stations. According to their “Partial Voluntary Time-Share Agreement,” the two groups will share the 107.9 FM signal, with United Way broadcasting for the majority of the time (10am to 5:59 AM) and Central Coast Maintenance Association broadcasting during morning drive, from 6:00 am to 9:59am, 7 days a week.

According to its application, the United Way expects to work closely with the Arroyo Grande Public Library and plans to develop programming with the library. Additionally, it hopes to air simulcasts of public forums and meetings, broadcast public information, and have programs focused on “educational music, local history and Spanish-language programming.” In its original application, the Central Coast Maintenance Association proposed a wide variety of programming for its station, including broadcasts of golf tournaments, information about a local monarch sanctuary, music, and live radio drama.

Grants to Social Justice and Environmental Non-Profits in California and Washington

A few grants were made to social justice and environmental non-profits, including:

The Peace and Justice Network of San Joaquin County (Stockton, CA): This group already produces an online radio show (Stone Soup Radio), publishes a newspaper, hosts two cable TV shows, and runs a Peace Center. The new LPFM will “incorporate programming from…Stone Soup Radio…filling needs that other media do not.” The new station will be called Stone Soup Valley Community Radio.

OneAmerica (Seatac, WA): OneAmerica produces “workshops, presentations and trainings related to immigrants, immigration, civics and communications” and seeks to empower immigrant communities. Programming on the station will air in a number of languages and will be a service for local immigrants.

Pacific Coast Conservation Alliance (Paso Robles, CA): This group plans to air a range of programming, including environmental news, local events listings, local arts programming, and other public affairs shows.

Ubuntu Green (Sacramento, CA): This non-profit group has been focused on projects related to edible home gardens, greening, and sustainability. It plans to utilize its new LPFM station in order to “expand its educational mission to the neighborhood airwaves” by broadcasting public affairs programming, music, and news.

Religious Groups to Operate Two New Stations in Hawaii

This week, a couple of religious broadcasters were issued permits, including:

Faith Up! (Kailua-Kona, HI): This group plans to air religious programming on 107.3 FM, with a “Catholic Talk” format of shows, largely utilizing syndicated programming from Eternal Word Television Network.

Corvallian Waves (Kailua-Kona, HI): On 95.3 FM, Corvallian Waves will focus on “all forms of worship music.” The non-profit is based in Oregon.

ThreeLPFMs go to Cities/Neighborhood Groups/Municipalities in California, Colorado and Arizona

A couple of cities and counties got grants this week, including:

The County of Ventura (Santa Paula, CA): The County of Ventura’s Office of Emergency Management is planning for a LPFM station that will, “provide public safety radio services” including information about “traffic and weather hazards,” according to its application.

City of Louisville (Louisville, CO): The City of Louisville is also planning to launch a public safety LPFM.

Sunnyside Neighborhood Association of Flagstaff, Inc. (Flagstaff, AZ): According to its application, this group is “dedicated to promoting the sustainable economic success of the residents in Flagstaff’s poorest neighborhood. ‘Enriching lives by mobilizing residents to create continual improvement’ is their mission.”

And…some Dismissals

Dismissed applications this week include:

Ministerio de Oracion Rompiendo Cadenas (Wenatchee, WA) – dismissed by the FCC, following concerns raised in an Objection filed by Community Oriented Radio Endeavors

Golden Gate Society for Coatings Technology (Oakland, CA) – one of the non-prevailing groups in the aforementioned San Francisco MX group

CAUSA JUSTA :: JUST CAUSE (Oakland,CA) – one of the non-prevailing groups in the aforementioned San Francisco MX group

Squallis Puppeteers Inc. (Louisville, KY) – The group asked for its application to be withdrawn, which could mean that the competing application for Art X FM could be granted soon

Austin Airwaves, Inc. (Manor, TX) – per applicant’s request


Radio Survivor reports on LPFM news every Thursday in our LPFM Watch feature.

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