US House passes 2010 Local Community Radio Act with NAB compromise

(article corrected)

The U.S. House of Representatives today passed HR-6533, a 2010 version of the Local Community Radio Act by voice vote.

This amended version of the LCRA was negotiated between LPFM advocate organizations such as Prometheus Radio Project and the National Association of Broadcasters who had allegedly used influence to block LPFM legislation from passing.

The key differences between the new HR-6533 and the previous bill HR-1147 includes:
- The new bill specifies that protection will be given to co-channel, first adjacent and second adjacent channels.
- The new bill allows for a second-adjacent waiver that permits stations to be placed on second adjacent channels upon showing a technical showing that no interference will be caused. This process calls for the LPFM station to remediate any interference that takes place on a second adjacent channel by immediately suspending operations and working with the interfered station to resolve the issues.
- LPFM stations as well as translators and boosters will remain at an equal level. This means that translators obtained through the "Great Translator Invasion" would be treated no differently than any other translator. An LPFM station would not be able to "bump" a translator under this legislation.
- LPFM remains a service secondary to full power broadcast stations.
- (corrected) Added a more stringent interference remediation plan to full power FM stations located in New Jersey receiving interference from LPFM stations.

REC feels that this is very much an acceptable compromise as it will finally quash a decade old falsehood over the urban legend of the third adjacent. We do remain concerned that pending translator applications that we filed during the Great Translator Invasion window and are currently mutually exclusive may continue to hamper efforts to establish LPFM in urban areas. With the language requiring distance separation on everything, we hope that the FCC will consider using prohibited overlap models for the spacing of LPFM stations in respect to FM translators and DTV Channel 6 facilites.

If this legislation is signed into law, REC intends to be fully engaged with our allies to work in the rulemaking process.

A Senate version of this legislation must still be passed before the end of this year's session. Once passed, it will go to President Obama to be signed into law. We are almost there!

View text of HR-6533 with amended text highlighted