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Federal Communications Commission
445 12th St., S.W.
Washington, DC 20554

Low Power FM Radio Service: Allegations and Facts

ALLEGATION: "Rush to Judgment?"

Opponents allege the FCC has "rushed to judgment" in adopting the low power FM radio service ("LPFM").

FACT: There was no rush to judgment in the FCC's decision on January 20, 2000 to authorize LPFM service. In fact, all parties, including the National Association of Broadcasters and individual broadcasters, had ample opportunity over an almost two-year period to participate in this proceeding. Here are the facts:

ALLEGATION: "Crosstalk?"

Opponents allege that LPFM stations will result in intelligible "crosstalk" interference on nearby FM radio stations, i.e., listeners will hear actual words being spoken on an LPFM station on a nearby FM radio station.

FACT: The type of "crosstalk" interference suggested by the NAB in its misleading CD demonstration on Capitol Hill, where you can intelligibly hear portions of both transmissions, is not likely to occur from actual LPFM stations operating on 3rd adjacent channels when the receiver is properly tuned to the desired station:

ALLEGATION: Not Addressing NPR Concerns?

Opponents allege the FCC is not addressing the concerns of National Public Radio about the impact of the LPFM service on protecting the inputs to NPR translators and interfering with radio reading services for the visually impaired.

FACT: The FCC, in fact, is seriously reviewing NPR's concerns during the current period of agency reconsideration of the new LPFM service, both with regard to translators and radio reading service issues:

ALLEGATION: Licenses Issued on March 27?

Opponents allege the FCC started to issue LPFM licenses on March 27, 2000.

FACT: On March 27, 2000, the FCC conducted a lottery to determine the order by state in which the Commission will accept applications for the new LPFM service. The first LPFM applications will be filed no earlier than late May and the first LPFM licenses will be granted no earlier than late August or early September.

ALLEGATION: Impact on Digital Radio?

Opponents allege that LPFM service will impede the development of digital radio.

FACT: The development of digital radio will not be impeded by the adoption of LPFM service:

ALLEGATION: Abandonment of Spectrum Management Mandate?

Opponents allege the FCC has abandoned its responsibility to maintain the integrity of the FM spectrum. They allege the administrative record in this proceeding does not support the conclusion that the new LPFM licenses will not result in unacceptable interference. They also allege that the FCC has conducted no proper studies and developed no satisfactory record.

FACT: In adopting the LPFM service, the Commission has taken a conservative approach in protecting existing FM service. Moreover, the new LPFM radio service has been subject to extensive public comment and engineering testing. The administrative record in this proceeding is thousands of pages long. It includes thousands of public comments as well as four major technical studies of 75 consumer FM radio receivers of various types and performance capabilities, including automobile radios, component tuners or receivers, portable radios such as "boom boxes," personal radios such as "Walkman" type units, and clock radios. For example:

ALLEGATION: Only Expensive Radios Tested?

Opponents allege the FCC only tested expensive radios before adopting the LPFM service.

FACT: The FCC study tested a wide range of 21 radios. These included both new and used car radios, boom boxes and low-cost home stereos. These 21 radios were certainly not fancy, high-priced radios-what some engineers call "lab queens." In fact, the radios tested included a couple of their own personal radios that FCC Laboratory engineers were about to discard:

ALLEGATION: Impact on Minorities?

Opponents allege the LPFM service will have a negative impact both on minority, low-income listeners and on minority-owned radio stations.

FACT: LPFM service will benefit listeners in low-income, minority communities as well as the larger listening public. Moreover, minority-owned stations will not have to compete with LPFM stations for any advertising dollars since the new LPFM service is non- commercial.

ALLEGATION: Impact on "Pirate" Radio?

Opponents allege the FCC will be giving LPFM licenses to "pirate" radio operators.

FACT: The FCC under Chairman William Kennard has vigorously enforced the broadcast licensing scheme, and will continue to be vigilant in its enforcement. Those organizations that broadcast without a license in the past, or individuals serving as officers or directors of organizations which broadcast without a license, are ineligible for an LPFM license, unless they certify that they promptly ceased operations when notified of their violation by the FCC and, in any case, ceased operations as of February 26, 1999.