FCC's Mignon Clyburn Suggests Using TV Channels 5 And 6 For Radio
June 11, 2010 at 4:30 AM (PT)
FCC Commissioner MIGNON CLYBURN told the 35th annual Community Radio Conference in ST. PAUL THURSDAY (6/10) that the Commission should consider reallocating TV channels 5 and 6 for use by LPFM, noncommercial, and AM radio broadcasters.
"These channels have proven difficult for television broadcasting," said CLYBURN, "and I have a hard time imagining that they would fare much better as additional spectrum for mobile broadband use. This spectrum is not well suited for digital transmissions. It certainly is possible that this spectrum could be used for LPFM, expanded NCE use, and AM broadcasters. I am not suggesting that the Commission move today to reallocate this spectrum for such uses. What I am suggesting, however, is that it is time for us to take a serious look at where these services fit within the overall spectrum plan, and that Channels 5 and 6 may be a good home."
It certainly is possible that this spectrum could be used for LPFM, expanded NCE use, and AM broadcasters.
CLYBURN said that she she is "optimistic" about the prospects of Congress passing the "Local Community Radio Act" to ease interference standards and allow more low power FMs. If the law passes, CLYBURN said, "we could realize a unique opportunity to license a great number -- many hundreds -- of new low powered community- oriented radio stations." The House passed the law in DECEMBER; a companion version is pending a vote by the full Senate.
CLYBURN also touted the opportunities for community radio offered by the Internet and HD RADIO multicasting, noting that "we have imposed virtually no limits on the use of HD-2 and HD-3 channels. And the FCC's Media Bureau routinely permits FM translators to rebroadcast these channels. No prior staff approval is required. In my view, NFCB should explore with its members the possibility of entering into partnerships with commercial and NCE stations to program HD-2 and HD-3 channels, and to acquire or enter into agreements to use translators to rebroadcast community station programming as analog signals. These are avenues that can expand your reach or create space for new stations simply looking for their first opportunities to get out there."
And CLYBURN said that an order is circulating among the Commissioners at the FCC that would reconsider the translation application cap of 10 and that she "will continue to advocate swift movement on this order, as it is a key step toward the next LPFM window. As many of you know all too well, the Commission has had this issue before it since 2005."