Public Broadcasting

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Once again NPR opposes expansion of low-power FM

Karen Everhart, Current

Advocates for full-power pubradio stations and their low-power FM cousins are at odds again over FCC proposals to allocate more frequencies for LPFM, whose extent and prerogatives have been debated since the commission authorized the new class of noncommercial stations in 2000.

More than 800 low-power stations have signed on since then, but their low rank in the FCC’s pecking order has made them vulnerable to being bumped off the air by full-power stations.

The vast majority of LPFMs broadcast outside of the section of the FM band reserved for noncommercial use, and advocates on both sides know of no encroachment conflicts between public radio and LPFM stations. But pubcasters are concerned about the potential for disruption of services, including pubradio’s translators, that could result if the FCC adopts the more flexible rules it has proposed.

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