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LPFM Watch: NAB Opposes REC’s 250 Watt LPFM Proposal, KMRD Launch, and More News

With not too many remaining pending low power FM (LPFM) applications, we are starting to see very few construction permit grants at this point. The only new construction permit granted this week was to St. Joseph’s, Sykesville, Roman Catholic Congregation, Inc. in Eldersburg, Maryland.

A Roman Catholic parish, the group plans to air “…programs from nationally recognized Catholic educational broadcasters such as the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network of Irondale, Alabama, in addition to locally produced programs related to our organization’s activities and educational outreach,” according to its application. St. Joseph’s was originally part of a larger mutually exclusive (MX) group of competing applicants in the Baltimore area, which also included college radio applicants Johns Hopkins University and Loyola University Maryland (which filed a Petition to Deny).

Radio Survivor Podcast Features Interview with Sabrina Roach about LPFM Efforts in Seattle

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to check out the new Radio Survivor Podcast. This week’s episode should be of particular interest to those who care about LPFM. Sabrina Roach, a community radio advocate who works for Brown Paper Tickets, talks about the tremendous effort that’s been put into building interest around LPFM in the Seattle, Washington area. She also talks a bit about some of the new LPFM stations that will soon be coming to the airwaves.

Last fall I was able to tour some of the LPFM-hopeful stations in the Seattle area and it was incredibly inspiring to see how all of the organizing and outreach has resulted in so many neighborhood stations.

NAB Opposes REC’s 250 watt LPFM Proposal

As we’ve reported, REC Networks submitted a proposal to the FCC, calling for the opportunity for LPFM stations to upgrade from 100 watts to 250 watts (read more the proposal in one of our Radio Survivor Bulletin exclusives). Initially, most of the comments in response to the proposal were favorable. This week, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) chimed in with its comments for the FCC, opposing the proposal. NAB argues that the upgrade request is “premature,” stating that, “The overwhelming majority of the approximately 2,000 LPFM stations to be licensed from the 2013 LPFM filing window have not even been constructed yet, let alone commenced operation at their current maximum power of 100 watts.”

NAB also expresses concern about potential interference from new LPFM stations in “urban markets and/or on second adjacent channels to full-power FM stations,” and is asking the FCC to hold off on considering upgrades until after the impact of the 100 watt service is determined. Additionally, NAB writes that a power increase to 250 watts could limit opportunities for FM translators. In its comments, NAB states, “AM broadcasters have waited patiently for their first opportunity to participate in an FM translator window, but are concerned that allowing LPFM stations to increase power to 250 watts, and thereby double their coverage areas, will further overcrowd the already congested FM band and foreclose licensing opportunities for cross-service translators.”

When I checked the FCC website today, there were more than 500 comments filed related to the 250 watt proposal, with a wide range of opinions both pro and con. You can also read a bit more about the variety of comments in today’s Radio Survivor Bulletin exclusive (subscribe here).

Madrid Community Radio Launches KMRD

On Tuesday, June 16th, Madrid Community Radio launched KMRD in Madrid, New Mexico. The Prometheus Radio Project helped to build the radio station last fall, alongside members of the community. According to the KMRD website, “There are so many stories and talents to share here in Madrid, and our participatory media outlet strives to share and amplify the knowledge, skills and voices of our community, as well as serve as a hub for community projects and organization. The radio station will bring together people from all walks of life to create truly independent freeform programming!”

LPFMs Coming to Lexington, Kentucky

The Lexington-Herald Leader reports on a couple of forthcoming LPFM stations in Lexington, Kentucky, under the auspices of Lexington Community Radio, including WLXL-LP. According to the article, “Lexington is getting closer to having its own nonprofit, non-commercial, community-based radio station. Spearheaded by insurance agent and former Urban County Council member Debra Hensley, the volunteer-run station is ahead of schedule on an Oct. 1 deadline for broadcast. ‘Think of it as NPR (National Public Radio) but hyper, hyper local,’ Hensley said.” The second station, WLXU-LP plans to get on the air by 2016.

Spanish and Portuguese Language LPFM for Framingham, Massachusetts

According to MetroWest Daily News, preparations are underway for a Catholic radio station broadcasting in Spanish and Portuguese to the Framingham, Massachusetts community. The article states that founder Father Paco Anzoategui “…is working with local church leaders and volunteers to launch Radio Catolica, a low-power FM radio station that will broadcast from the basement of the rectory at St. Stephen on the frequency 96.5. The station’s call letters, WBNU, are derived from the Spanish phrase ‘buena nueva,’ which translates to Good News.”

LPFM Watch is a weekly feature on Radio Survivor appearing every Thursday.

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