NAB to FCC: Careful With Second-Adjacent LPFMs, Say No To 250-Watt, 50-Watt LPFMs
May 21, 2012 at 4:07 PM (PT)
The NAB's reply comments in the FCC's low-power FM docket repeat the organization's position that waivers to allow LPFMs to operate on the second-adjacent channels to full-power FMs should only be granted "in truly unusual circumstances" and warn against allowing either 250-watt or 50-watt LPFMs.
The comments tell the Commission that it "must take a cautious, careful approach to second-adjacent waivers. The plain language of the LCRA and its legislative history both clearly indicate Congress' understanding of the serious risk of interference that LPFM stations on second-adjacent channels may pose to FM services. The Commission is obligated to implement Congress' clear intent. Also, the Commission needs to be mindful that many LPFM stations, if they are forced to cease operations due to interference complaints, will lack the resources and engineering expertise to resolve these complaints and restore service. Such entities may have to forfeit the substantial time and resources they invested in an LPFM facility. It is therefore critical that every effort be made to fully examine a proposed second-adjacent operation upfront, during the waiver process, to minimize instances where an LPFM station must shut down due to interference problems."
The NAB proposes, "First, waiver applicants should be required to demonstrate with 'clear and convincing' evidence that the proposed operations will not result in interference. Second, a presumption of interference should be attached to any proposal that would be short-spaced under the current rules, to help guide the Commission's consideration of 'close calls.' Finally, applicants should be required to serve a copy of their request on the potentially short- spaced FM station, to allow that station the opportunity to examine the application's engineering demonstration of no interference. The Commission should also consider making the FM station's affirmation of a waiver request's engineering showing a precondition of approval."
In addition, on the proposal for 250-watt LPFMs, the NAB writes, "Authorization of LP250 stations would increase risks of interference to FM stations, and substantially undermine the Commission's ongoing implementation of Section 5 of the LCRA, governing the prioritization of LPFM and FM translator stations." And on 50-watt stations, the NAB says, "The insertion of 50 watt LPFM stations into already crowded urban markets would be technically inefficient, given the large interference contours of such stations compared to their very small service areas."