REC Networks Asks For LPFM Power Increase
April 22, 2015 at 5:32 AM (PT)
MICHELLE BRADLEY's REC NETWORKS has petitioned the FCC to allow a new class of low power FM stations that would be given 250 watts as opposed to the current 100-watt limitation. The increased power would allow stations to have service contours of up to 7.1 km, up from 5.6 km.
The filing points out that LPFMs often operate from low antenna heights and cannot penetrate buildings within their primary service area at 100 watts; REC estimates that if no geographic restrictions are placed on the LP-250 stations, as many as 75% of current LP-100 facilities will be able to upgrade. And the filing counters the NAB's assertion that if LPFMs want more power they should apply for Class A stations by noting that "Under the current rules, obtaining the ability to operate a Class-A station, especially in the non-reserved band is not as easy as the NAB makes it to be. Even at LP-250, LPFM will continue to be secondary, no different than a translator. Nothing in this Petition for Rulemaking will suggest to the contrary." The proposal requests permitting LP-250s to penetrate full-power buffer zones by as much as 8.8 km.
In addition, the filing requests extending the distance permissible for "minor moves" of LPFMs beyond the current 5.6 km limit to 11.1 km for LP-100s and 14.1 km for LP-250s, changing local programming requirements from 8 hours a day to 1/3 of daily programming (reflecting time-share stations' limited hours), and reconsideration of the contour overlap requirement for commonly-owned translators rebroadcasting LPFMs.
Opposition From Another LPFM Group
DAVE SOLOMON, the Exec. Director of the LPFM ADVOCACY GROUP and head of QUALITY RADIO PARTNERS, licensee of LPFM WEZG-LP (ABIGAIL RADIO 101.5)/GREENVILLE, SC, responded, "We at the LPFM ADVOCACY GROUP (LPFM-AG) are made up of actual LPFM licensees. REC has no broadcast experience at all; much less LPFM. There are many strange sub-rules and agendas included beneath this text -- along with a clear preference for NCE-FM over commercial radio. In fact, LPFM stations between 88.1 and 91.9 can't upgrade -- for no reason except that REC says 'no.' REC did not include one thing that we really need. Why didn't we ask for primary status?
"REC should not be trying to make our rules. We do not view MICHI BRADLEY or REC as an advocate that is acting on behalf of LPFM and strongly encourage all LPFMs to read this petition carefully and to be prepared to oppose this ridiculous submission. It is another REC vanity piece that is very bad for LPFM as a whole."