NAB Opposes New Higher Power LPFM Service


LPFM stations want more power, the NAB says the FM band is crowded enough and LPFM stations do not follow the rules. REC Networks has asked the Commission to create the higher power service several times. Each of the previous requests has been rejected.

REC Networks is asking the FCC to approve a new 250 watt LPFM service. In comments submitted this week, the NAB tells the FCC it has explained on multiple occasions that even the 100 Watt LPFM stations technically interfere with licensed FM stations and giving them more power would only make things worse. “FM broadcasters report that too many LPFM stations already transmit at higher than authorized power or from an unauthorized location, cause frequent interference and hinder translator service.”

The NAB details a number of violators who the organization says cannot even follow the simplest technical rules. “A Florida station that operated at 1,910 watts instead of their authorized 23 watts, a Sacramento station that operated at 209 watts instead of their allowed 86 watts and a station in South Carolina that operated at 300 watts instead of their authorized 50 watts.”

The NAB also says the new service is also unnecessary. “The FCC has already bent over backwards to improve LPFM service coverage by permitting the use of translators, boosters and other measures. Essentially, LPFM advocates are asking that LPFM stations be permitted to enjoy the same (or even greater) coverage as full-service Part 73 FM stations, but without the same public interest and regulatory obligations. Such an obvious end-run around the Commission’s rules would set a dangerous precedent.”


  1. NAB: The sky is falling, the sky is falling. (repeat ad nauseam) The industry: Let’s move our station controls out-of-state and fire the local talent. The translators: Let’s see how many local frequencies we can monopolize with the exact same program all aired at the exact same time. The LPFM stations: The NAB lies about us without any shame and won’t allow us join as full voting members to try make things right. The NCE religious and public radio stations: We know how to air “Call to actions” and get by with it. The public: Hey Alexa play some sleep music. The FCC Commission: Which way is the wind blowing today?

  2. It’s right in the name: “Low Power.” This idea was a disaster from the beginning. These stations are not – can not be – viable. They can’t sell ads, none of them have enough juice to cover any market, leaving them with no way to raise operating funds. If they had the power they want, they would interfere with legitimate FM stations. It’s a mess. We had one in our little town, and it came on with great enthusiasm. But with no funding, the energy for it waned, the volunteers stopped working and it’s been gone for a couple of years.

  3. Al Gordon:

    That problem goes back to the power “increase” of 20 years ago.
    From a North-South signal, to an Eastern signal with minor lobes in the North-South-West.
    It created nulls inside the target areas, especially, at night.

  4. In some cases, the FM translators are an issue. In some areas, their AM station is stronger in the areas they cover and their FM translators cause interference with already existing LPFM stations. Example: WFLA Tampa- they have a translator in Pasco county that interferes with WZPH-LP Dade City/Zephyrhills, which always operates legally. WFLA-AM covers Pasco county just fine without a translator.


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