FAQ: What is the proposal?
The "Simple 250" Petition for Rulemaking, also known as RM-11909 is a proposal to add a second class of Low Power FM (LPFM) broadcast stations at a higher power with a wider coverage area. Currently, LPFM stations are limited to 100 watts effective radiated power (ERP) at 30 meters (about 100 feet) height above average terrain (HAAT) with an effective service area of 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers). The proposed class of service would allow qualified LPFM stations to operate at 250 watts ERP and 30 meters HAAT with an effective service area of about 4.4 miles (7.1 kilometers). This new class of service is also referred to as "LP-250".
The proposal is a subsequent attempt to get LP-250 after originally being rejected by the FCC because the previous attempt was considered "too complex" and raised some concerns that it could violate the Local Community Radio Act of 2010, which calls for very specific methods on where an LPFM station can be located compared to a full-service (full power) FM station.
While we have proposed no geographic restrictions on where LP-250 would be available, the availability is more favorable to rural and suburban areas where there are fewer radio stations and LPFM stations are able to grow into the larger service areas without causing interference to other stations. Lack of availability in urban areas will be "naturally" controlled by spectrum crowding. Despite that, there have been some urban stations which (as of May, 2021) may still be available.