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FCC grants Pasadena, CA LPFM amid EMF objections

Submitted by on

Despite the objections of Educational Media Foundation, the FCC has granted the application for Razorcake/Gorsky Press for a new LPFM station on 92.7 to serve the Pasadena, California area.   

Razorcake was one of four applicants who applied for 92.7 during the 2013 window.  All 4 applicants were mutually exclusive.  Subsequent to filing these applications, Educational Media Foundation (K-Love), licensee of KYLA, Fountain Valley, CA filed a concern about all four of the applications stating that the interference contours of the proposed LPFM stations would overlap with the 60 dBu protected service contour of the co-channel Class A station and they needed a clarification whether this is covered by the Local Communit Radio Act. EMF claims that because the LCRA stated that LPFM stations on second adjacent channel waivers are not to cause interference to "any radio service", the term "any radio service" also includes co-chanel.  

In reply, to the request for clarification, REC filed what could be considered an amicus filing in which we stated that the LCRA never intended to include co-channel and first-adjacent specifications in the definition of "any radio service" for the context of second adjacent channel waivers.  REC also points out that Razorcake is located at least 67km from KYLA, the minimum distance required.  Even though Razorcake's 40 dBu interfering contour does overlap KYLA's 60 dBu service contour.  

§73.209(c) of the rules specifically states that permittees and licensees of (full-power) FM stations are not protected from interference that may be caused by the grant of a new LPFM station or of authority to modify an existing LPFM except as provided in Subpart G (the LPFM rules).  §73.809(a) states that for subsequent full-power FM applications (which is not the case here), the LPFM will be considered as interfering if there is overlap of the LPFM interfering contour within the 70 dBu "city grade" contour of the full power station or otherwise in the community of license of the full-power station.  

As pointed out by REC, while Razorcake's interfering contour overlaps KYLA's 60 dBu protected contour, it does not overlap the 70 dBu city grade contour.  REC also points out that due to geographical features such as the Monterey Hills, which are located past the area used to determine height above average terrain, Razorcake's signal will not go past the mountain range out of the San Gabriel Valley and therefore will not be heard in Orange County despite the contour overlap. 

In addition to REC, Prometheus made a similar filing stating that EMF is misinterpreting the LCRA.

After the applications were accepted for filing, EMF filed a Petition to Deny against all of the applicants with the arguments that the LCRA states that the "any radio service" language on second-adjacent also applies to co-channel if the LPFM station is given a waiver. 

After the public notice announcing the MX applicants, three of the four members of this MX group agree to drop out leaving Razorcake the lone singleton applicant standing. 

In their decision, the FCC upholds the interpretation that the "any radio service" language in the LCRA section 3(b)(2)(A) "requires an LPFM seeking a second-adjacent channel waiver to demonstrate that the grant of the waiver will not cause interference to any FM station in any service that operates on a second-adjaent channel to the proposed LPFM station.  It does not require such an applicant to demonstrate that its proposed LPFM station-which must comply with the co- and first-adjacent channel spacing requirements-will not cause any interference to stations operating on co- or first-adjacent channels."  With that, the FCC state that all Razorcake must show in relation to KYLA is that its proposed LPFM station satisfies the spacing requirements of §73.807, which it does. 

This grant is the last non-Cesar Guel-handled LPFM application in Southern California.  Other than the Cesar Guel-handled applications and the three pending San Francisco area applications on 102.5, only two ungranted applications remain for Message Radio in Tucson, Arizona and Falcon Radio in Colorado.