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LPFM Watch: Win-Win Resolutions in Massive Los Angeles MX Group

Los Angeles has been the site of the biggest group of applicants in the country battling it out for a single low-power FM frequency. A partial resolution of this competition has been reached, thanks to the efforts of the LPFM advocacy group Common Frequency and the cooperation of existing stations. As a result many more new LPFMs will go on the air, rather than just one.

This MX group started out with a whopping 32 applicants all vying for 101.5 FM in an extremely crowded radio market with very few LPFM eligible frequencies available, a number that was down to 18 a year ago. By working together to forge timeshares and agreeing to make geographic moves of proposed transmitter sites at least four groups likely will broadcast on 101.5 FM, but from locations far enough apart that they won’t interfere. One has already been authorized, the Craft and Folk Art Museum, which will broadcast from Pacific Palisades.

99.1 FM in Carson, CA has already been assigned to G-Final Cut, but that group agreed to move and share time with The Church in Annaheim on 101.5 FM. That allows Long Beach Community Television and Media to take over 99.1 FM. In the Hollywood Hills three applicants from the MX are far enough way to also share 99.1 FM. To the east, in the San Fernando Valley, the group awarded 96.7 FM, Cinefamily, agreed to a timeshare with another 101.5 FM applicant, Materials and Applications.

This brings to seven the number of applicants still remaining in the MX group competing for the use of 101.5 FM in and around Downtown Los Angeles. REC Networks has a full breakdown of the individual applicants and the resulting agreements. Common Frequncy also elaborates on their Facebook page.

A big hand goes to Clay Leander and Common Frequency for putting in a heroic effort not just to resolve this snarl of an MX group in Los Angeles, but to find ways to amicably forge time share agreements and site changes, all while growing the number of new low-power community stations that would not otherwise exist. A focus on finding win-win situations overcame a possible zero-sum game that would have resulted in far fewer stations. This is the spirit of community in action.

Turnover and Squabbling Results in LPFM Dismissal

Tumultuous internal squabbling and turnover on an applicant’s board of directors led the FCC to rescind a construction permit issued to La Casa Dominicana de Hazleton in Hazleton, PA. While the machinations are quite complex, the crux of the issue is that a majority of the group’s board turned over before the station’s licnese could be issued, exacerbated by the group not making proper filings as these changes occurred.

Radio World lays out all the gory details.

A Change to LPFM Watch

This week’s LPFM Watch brings our weekly low-power FM coverage to a close. While this was a comparatively busy week, recently there has been much less news to report on. We expect this slowdown to continue, given that the vast majority of applications have been processed.

We will continue to cover important stories and issues in LPFM, but we’ll post these reports as they happen, rather than weekly. So, if a week goes by without much to report on, there won’t be an LPFM Watch.

We started weekly coverage under the LPFM Watch umbrella in December, 2013, about six weeks after the application window ended, and about seven weeks before the first construction permits were issued. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to watch this unprecedented expansion of community radio in the US, and I’m proud of the fact that we’ve published 120 weekly features. That’s arguably more low-power FM coverage than any other publication, anywhere.

We appreciate everyone who has read LPFM Watch, commented or sent us tips. If there is a story about or and aspect of low-power FM that you would like us to cover, please let us know.


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