This was a pretty quiet week in the world of low power FM (LPFM). Stations continue to work towards getting on the air and the FCC is still making its way through some lingering applications.
LPFM Accused of Interfering with Full Power Station in Texas
An existing LPFM station, KYEB-LP in Garland, Texas, licensed to Iglesia Alfa Y Omega, is being accused of unlawful operation and of interfering with the signal of full power commercial radio station KESS-FM in Benbrook, Texas. According to KESS’ complaint, KYEB-LP is operating beyond its allowed operating power and is interfering with the KESS signal. KESS also argues that the LPFM station is airing commercials. There’s no word yet from the FCC on these allegations, but REC Networks’ Michelle Bradley weighed in, saying in a statement that, “REC supports Univision’s complaint against KYEB-LP. If the allegations made in the compaint [sic] are true, this is a serious violation of the FCC Rules, puts the integrity of LPFM at risk and strains the relationship between LPFM and the full-service broadcast industry. The alleged actions of KYEB-LP are not representative of the LPFM service as a whole.”
WXNA-LP is Closer to Launch Date in Nashville
One station that is close to getting on the air is WXNA-LP in Nashville, Tennessee. Radio Survivor readers will recall that WXNA-LP is a project of WRVU Friends and Family, the same group that fought the sale of Vanderbilt University’s student radio station WRVU-FM.
According to the Tennessean, WXNA-LP is expected to get on the air before June 4, 2016 and, “The nonprofit, community-driven low-watt radio station emerged out of the ashes of WRVU, the Vanderbilt-owned radio station that switched to a streaming only format in 2011. There will be shows for fans of indie rock, Gospel, rock, R&B, jazz, Bluegrass and virtually every other genre.” Pete Wilson, who was the last community DJ on the air at WRVU-FM before its FM signal was turned over to Nashville Public Radio, will be the first DJ on the air at WXNA.
As a letter to the Tennessean points out, Nashville has a long history of community and low power radio. That legacy includes nearly 11 year old Radio Free Nashville (WRFN-LP). Its General Manager Greg Welsch writes, “It is through our lobbying and work with media organizations across the country that moved the FCC to open up a second round of low power licenses that allowed WXNA and Workers’ Dignity Radio WDYO to obtain construction permits.”
College Radio Station KXSU-LP on the Air in Seattle
Among the LPFM applicants in the city of Seattle, Seattle University’s KXSU-LP is the first to get on the air. According to KPLU, “Like many stations that hold LPFM licenses, KXSU started out as an internet-only service and featured mostly indie and local music.” I toured the station in fall 2014 as it was preparing for the transition from online-only to terrestrial broadcasting.