RM-11846 Fact Sheet: Rural smaller NCE stations

What this petition will do

  • This petition opens up an opportunity for over 2,000 local communities that are currently shut out from having local noncommercial educational broadcast services to be able to obtain the ability to construct and operate a broadcast facility that is “right-sized” for their community.
  • This petition provides the assurances to the local communities that their allocation is primary and is not subject to displacement based on the application activity of larger stations, such as those in the urbanized area.
  • This petition will provide first aural service to smaller qualified communities while continuing to honor the Commission’s mandate to fair and equitable distribution of licenses among the states and communities.
  • This petition utilizes an allocation theory based on decades of time-tested arrangements in different disciplines despite the fears that such “overlapping” or “short-spaced” arrangements will result in additional harmful interference.
  • This petition will assure that only local applicants with accountability to their community would receive licenses under the special arrangement.
  • This petition will assure interference free service to the new facilities by requiring that the protected service contour of the proposed station is outside of the interfering contour of any co-channel or first-adjacent channel facilities.
  • This petition will afford impacted stations with an opportunity to review the proposal and to speak up if they feel the proposed facility is not in the public interest.

What this petition will not do

  • This petition will not resurrect the Class D service, nor does it create a new primary LPFM service class in contravention with the LCRA. No new service class is created. All facilities must meet Class A minimums.
  • This petition will not prevent existing NCE stations that are overlapped from being able to make modifications to their own facilities as long as a minimum second-adjacent channel relationship is maintained.
  • This petition will not permit the waiver facilities outside of the 20 NCE reserved band channels nor does it permit operation on “Channel 200” (87.9 MHz).
  • This petition will not create the same type of interference situations we are experiencing with translators because protected contours of the overlapping stations cannot come inside of the interfering contour of an existing co-channel or first-adjacent channel facility.
  • This petition will not create new “rimshots”.  No facility may specify a coverage contour that has any kind of overlap with the boundary of an urbanized area unlike other policies where up to 50% of urbanized area overlap is tolerated.
  • This petition will not impact noncommercial, and for that matter, commercial competition in the top 50 media markets.
  • This petition will not decrease protections to full-service stations in the non-reserved commercial band.  As all facilities that would be authorized under this proposal are considered Class A, they must protect all existing commercial stations as if they were a full 6 kW.
  • This petition will not modify the comparative process.  Mutually exclusive applications specifying the second or third adjacent channel waiver will stand side-by-side with competing applications that are not specifying the waiver arrangement.  Because of the contour overlap, it is very possible that stations proposing the waiver may not be MX with stations not proposing the waiver as the channel would not be otherwise available to the bigger stations.
  • This petition will not permit the use of a waiver station to be the “seed” for a national network of translators. The localism rules further limit the scope of ownership and community accountability.

You may view a copy of this Petition at https://recnet.net/fcc/PRM-nce_23_waiver.pdf

Qualification checklist

In order to make a compelling showing that would warrant this waiver proposed by REC, the following questions would have to be answered as shown:

Does the proposed community of license meet the minimum criteria to be a community for license/allotment purposes? YES
Does this community currently have any aural services (AM or FM, commercial or noncommercial, excluding LPFM, FM translators or boosters) licensed to it? NO
Is the station located outside of a Nielsen Audio market ranked 1 through 50? YES
Does the 1 mV/m (60 dBu) coverage contour of the proposed station overlap into any US Census Bureau designated Urbanized Area? NO
Does the applicant organization have any other attributable broadcast holdings (except an LPFM station that would be divested upon program test)? NO
Is the applicant organization headquartered within 20 miles of the proposed station? YES
Does a minimum of 75% of the board members of the applicant organization reside within 20 miles of the proposed station? YES
At the proposed site, can a non-directional facility with 100 watts ERP at 30 meters HAAT be placed on any of the 20 reserved band (88.1~91.9) channels without the need of the waiver? NO
Of the full-service reserved band stations that are blocking the ability for the facility to be authorized without a waiver, do any of those stations place a 1 mV/m coverage contour over any Urbanized Area? YES
Does the proposed facility have a minimum coverage contour of 6 km (100 w @ 30m HAAT), a maximum coverage contour of 13 km (250w @ 100m HAAT) and has an ERP that does not exceed 250 watts? YES
Does the proposed facility place a protected contour over any interfering contour? NO
Does the proposed facility place an interfering contour over any protected contour on co- or first-adjacent channels? NO
Does the proposed facility meet all protections required in §73.507 towards commercial FM stations (including IF) and foreign FM stations as well as §73.525 towards any full service TV Channel 6 stations (prior to the LPTV analog sunset)? YES
Of the second and third adjacent facilities that place a protected contour over the proposed facility's interfering contour, does the population within the 100 dBu interfering contour exceed 0.2 % of the population of the coverage contour of the overlapped station but no greater than 3,000 persons? NO
If the previous answer is "YES", if by using the Living Way U/D Ratio method based on the field strength of the incumbent facility at the proposed antenna site, does the population within the 100 dBu interfering contour exceed 0.2 % of the population of the coverage contour of the overlapped station but no greater than 3,000 persons? NO

Summary of how each service will protect each other

Channel relationship and/or service

How a waiver station is handled

How the incumbent station is handled

NCE reserved band channel (201~220)




Waiver station must provide protection both ways (interfering to protected and protected to interfering)

Incumbent station must also provide protection both ways.

NCE reserved band channel (201~220)



Waiver station’s protected contour may not overlap the incumbent station’s interfering contour. 


Waiver station’s interfering contour may overlap the incumbent station’s protected contour as long as population inside of overlap does not exceed 0.2% of incumbent service contour or more than 3,000 persons.

Incumbent station may freely modify on a per se basis as long as the modification does not result in a co-channel or first-adjacent channel relationship.

Non-reserved band channel (221~300)




intermediate frequency


Waiver station uses distance separation in accordance with §73.507 and §73.207.

Incumbent station uses distance separation in accordance with §73.207.

LPFM stations

LPFM stations are secondary and are subject to displacement in accordance with §73.809.

LPFM stations will protect waiver stations as if they are class A facilities.

FM translators

FM translators are secondary and are subject to displacement in accordance with §74.1203(a).

FM translators may not place an interfering contour inside the protected contour of a waiver station. 

Foreign stations.

Distance separation in accordance with §73.507 and §73.207.

Waiver stations should be reported as Class A to foreign administrations.

TV Channel 6

Protection in accordance with §73.525.

Protection in accordance with §73.623(g)