REC asks FCC for translator filing window for LPFM stations

Citing a phrase in the Local Community Radio Act, REC Networks, through a Petition for Reconsideration in MB Docket 13-249 has asked the Federal Communications Commission to extend one of the FM translator filing windows for AM stations to also include LPFM stations.  

According to the Local Community Radio Act (LCRA), passed in 2011 and signed by President Obama states that licenses for FM translator stations and low power FM stations are to be assigned "based on community need".  REC argues that the FCC did not take into consideration all community needs when moving forward with Commissioner Ajit Pai's method of "revitalizing" the AM broadcast band. 

The Commission is planning on opening two filing windows in 2017 for new FM translators for AM stations.  The first window will be limited to Class C and D AM stations that did not participate in the currently running 2016 move opportunity.  The second window will be for all classes of AM stations that did not participate in the 2016 move opportunities or in the first 2017 window.  Mutually exclusive applications from AM licensees would be settled through auction. 

REC is asking the Commission for LPFM to be included in the second 2017 FM translator filing window.  This window was chosen because it would not prevent any AM station from being able to obtain a translator.  Under the FCC's auction rules, if a commercial and a non-commercial application are mutually exclusive, then the commercial application would have priority and the non-commercial application would have to make a modification to break it from mutual exclusivity with the commercial application(s).  If multiple non-commercial applications are received, a point system similar to that used for full-power non-commercial FM would be used to settle the MX group. 

To be consistent with the AM filing window and to prevent speculation, REC has proposed that LPFM stations be able to obtain one translator in this window consistent with the siting rules currently in place and that the translator would be permanently attached to that LPFM station and can not be split off.

It is up to the FCC to either grant or deny the Petition.  They may also deny the Petition and on their own motion, open a filing window.  REC recommends against any speculation at this time.   It is our hope that the FCC realizes that there is a need for LPFM translators and there is a way to implement this without the speculation of 2003 and still giving every commercial AM station an opportunity to obtain a translator. 

REC's Petition for Reconsideration can be found at the following URL: