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.”