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Low Power FM Radio Service

FCC Authorizes New LPFM Service

At its January 20, 2000 meeting, the Commission created a new low power FM radio service. The service will be available to noncommercial educational entities and Travellers' Information Station entities, but not commercial operations or individuals. Maximum effective radiated power for these stations is 100 watts,and the LPFM stations will not be protected from interference caused by full service stations that make changes to their operations. A construction permit or license is required before construction or operation of a LPFM station can be initiated. Construction permits and licenses are overseen by the Audio Services Division. More information on applications and the application process are available at the Audio Division's Low Power FM Radio site.

Recent Low Power FM Radio Actions

  • On April 2, 2001, the FCC adopted a revised LPFM Order prescribing third adjacent channel interference protection standards and prohibiting any applicant from obtaining an LPFM station license if the applicant has previously engaged in the unlicensed operation of a station. The Order codifies provisions of the FY 2001 Appropriations Act which required the FCC to modify its LPFM rules to prescribe minimum distance separations for third adjacent channels as well as for co-channels and first- and second-adjacent channels and to prohibit any applicant from obtaining a low-power FM license if the applicant has engaged in any manner in the unlicensed operation of any station in violation of FCC rules.

  • On September 28, 2000 the Commission released a Memorandum Opinion and Order on Reconsideration, which disposes of petitions for reconsideration of the Report and Order, makes certain changes to the LPFM rules, and provides certain clarifications of the LPFM rules. [MO&O: Text | Word '97 |  Acrobat]

  • The FCC has developed a LPFM Channel Finder to help applicants determine whether there are available LPFM channels in their local area. To further help applicants in locating a LPFM channel the FCC has created a web site to help you find the approximate coordinates of your community. The FCC's Coordinate Locator site will assist in finding the reference coordinates of most U.S. cities. These coordinates represent the general location of your community and are not likely to identify your proposed transmitter location.

  • Application for Construction Permit for a Low Power FM Broadcast Station is available in Acrobat (pdf) format. Applications will be accepted only in designated filing windows. The Commission will announce in a Public Notice when these filing windows are opened. Applications filed outside of these windows will not be accepted. Additional information for applicants is available at www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/lpfm/.

  • The FCC Guide for LPFM Applicants (now available in Spanish), the entire Report & Order and the Fact Sheet Low Power FM Radio Service: Allegations and Fact are currently available below.

Low Power FM Radio Fact Sheet

  • On January 20, 2000, the FCC adopted rules creating a new, low power FM radio (LPFM) service. The Report and Order was released on January 27 and was published in the Federal Register on February 15. The rules became effective on April 17, 2000.

  • In mid-April, the Commission issued a Public Notice announcing the first 5-day application period 30 days hence. Applications from Alaska, California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Mariana Islands, Maryland, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Utah were accepted at that time. Four additional filing windows open in approximately three-month intervals. The order in which each state is considered is available from a News Release of March 27, 2000.

  • The new LPFM service consists of two classes of LPFM radio stations with maximum power levels of 10 watts and 100 watts. The 10 watt stations would reach an area with a radius of between one and two miles, the 100 watt stations would reach an area with a radius of approximately three and a half miles. 100-watt stations will be authorized first.

  • These LPFM stations would operate throughout the FM band. The stations will be geographically separated from existing stations on the same (co-channel) channel, the next (first adjacent channel) channel, and the channel two channels away (second adjacent channel). The new stations will not be geographically spaced from stations three channels away (third adjacent channel). For example, under the rules applicable to existing full power stations, where there is a station at 93.5 mHz,” there is currently no station in the same geographic area on 93.7 (the first adjacent channel), 93.9 (the second adjacent channel) or 94.1 (the third adjacent channel). The spacing criteria for LPFM stations will allow an LPFM station to be licensed on the third adjacent channel, or 94.1 in the vicinity of the full power station.

  • The rules provide for a 20 km "buffer zone" of additional separation from co- and first-adjacent channels so that existing FM stations can modify facilities without undue adverse impact. They also provide for separation from existing vacant FM allotments.

  • The new LPFM service will be exclusively noncommercial, there will be no commercial LPFM stations. In addition, current broadcast licensees or parties with interests in other media – cable or newspapers - will not be eligible for LPFM stations.

  • LPFM stations will be licensed exclusively to local entities for the first two years of license availability. Later, however, non-local entities will be eligible for licenses. Each licensee may own only one station in any given community, however, eventually a licensee may own up to ten stations nationwide.

  • Licensees will be subject to the same character qualifications as are currently applied to full power licensees. Unauthorized broadcasters will be disqualified unless they certify that they ceased operations when notified of their violation of FCC rules or by February 26, 1999.

  • If mutually exclusive applications are received for LPFM stations in a given city, mutual exclusivity will be resolved through the award of points for established local presence, proposed hours of service, or locally originated programming. The point system would encourage mutually exclusive applicants to share their stations with other applicants.

  • Application for Construction Permit for a Low Power FM Broadcast Station is available in Acrobat (pdf) format. Form 318 is available online here and through the FCC's Forms webpage. Applications will be accepted only in designated filing windows. The Commission will announce in a Public Notice when these filing windows are opened. Applications filed outside of these windows will not be accepted. When information is available on when to file applications for low power radio stations it will be posted on the Commission’s LPFM website at www.fcc.gov/mb/policy/lpfm or available by phone from the FCC at 1-888-CALL-FCC.

  • Some radio reading services have raised concerns about interference to their services from LPFM. Radio reading services, which carry newspapers and other information aurally to the visually impaired population, operate as subcarriers on FM frequencies. Just as our testing has determined that existing stations will not experience harmful interference, the Commission stated in the Report & Order that subcarriers on these frequencies should not experience harmful interference. The concerns about radio reading services are related more to the unsophisticated technology of the receivers than to the signal itself. The Commission is looking into technical testing of radio reading service receivers.

  • The Audio Services Division has created an Internet program to help LPFM applicants select a site which meets the minimum required separations to other broadcast stations.
    The LPFM Channel Finder and other important information is available though the Audio Service's Division LPFM website.

Frequently Asked Questions About Low Power FM Radio

Low Power FM Radio Documents

Second Report and Order
MM Docket 99-25 : Text | Word | Acrobat
Statements: Powell | Furchtgott-Roth
News Release: Text | Word97

News Release:
FCC Announces First 255 Applicants
Eligible for Low Power FM Radio Stations: HTML  | Text | Word97
Public Notice:
Notice of Acceptance of Low Power FM Broadcast Applications and Notification of Petition to Deny Deadline: HTML  |  Text  |  Word 97  |  Acrobat

Statement:
Chairman Kennard: Text |  Word 97

FCC to Accept Low Power FM Applications January 16 through January 22, 2001 for American Samoa, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Public Notice: HTML  |  Text  |  Word 97

The Public Notice announcing Low Power FM Appplications for Original Construction Permits Received is now available at http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Mass_Media/Public_Notices/
Brdcst_Applications/ap000915.txt

FCC to Accept Low Power FM Applications August 28 through September 1, 2000 for Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, Virginia, and Wyoming.
Public Notice: HTML  |  Text  |  Word 97

The Public Notice announcing Low Power FM Appplications for Original Construction Permits Received is now available at http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Mass_Media/Public_Notices/
Brdcst_Applications/ap000621.txt

Public Notice:
The filing window for LPFM applications filed in first filing window is extended
until Thursday, June 8, 2000.
HTML  |  Text  |  Word 97

Public Notice:
Electronic Filing available for LPFM applications filed in first filing window. Applications to be accepted May 30- June 5, 2000: HTML | Text | Word 97

Public Notice:
FCC opens Low Power FM Filing Window May 30 through June 5, 2000 for Alaska, California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Mariana Islands, Maryland, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Utah: HTML | Text | Word 97

Application for Construction Permit for a Low Power FM Broadcast Station:
Acrobat
Applications will be accepted only in designated filing windows.

News Release:
FCC Lottery Determines Order for Accepting Applications: Text | Word97
Statements: Kennard |  Tristani
Press Conference: Audio/Video

Memorandum Opinion and Order on Reconsideration:
MM Docket 99-25 Creation of Low Power FM Radio Service:
Text | Word '97 |  Acrobat

Report & Order:
MM Docket 99-25 Creation of Low Power FM Radio Service: Text | Word '97 |  ZIP | Acrobat
Statements: Chairman Kennard |  Commissioner Ness |  Commissioner Furchtgott-Roth |  Commissioner Powell |  Commissioner Tristani
News Release: HTML

Federal Register
To obtain a copy of the Federal Register Summary you can go to the
Government Printing Office's website and use their search engine (suggested search terms are: Low Power Radio; 02/15/2000; Volume 65, Number 31; Rules and Regulations;Page 7615-7649) or use the direct links provided here.
>Federal Register(text) |  >Federal Register(pdf)

Previous Orders and other documents in MM Docket 99-25

News Release
Statement of Dale Hatfield, Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology, and Roy Stewart, Chief, Mass Media Bureau Concerning Low Power FM Engineering Issues and Responding to Congressional Subcommittee Markup of LPFM Bill: Text | Word97
Public Notice:
Lottery Announcement of Five Stage National Filing Window for Low Power FM Radio: Text | Word '97
Order:
On Motion for Reconsideration of the
extension of the reply comment period: Text | Word '97
Order:
Extension of the reply comment period: Text | Word '97
Order:
Extension of the reply comment period: Text | Acrobat
FCC Receiver Study:
Second and Third Adjacent Channel Interference Study of FM Broadcast Receivers: Word 97
Order:
Second extension of the comment period: Text | WordPerfect
Order:
Extension of the comment period: Text | WordPerfect | Acrobat
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
MM Docket 99-25: Text | WordPerfect | Acrobat (7.5 MB)
Attachments to MM Docket 99-25: | fcc9906a.xls | fcc9906b.xls | fcc9906c.xls
News Release: Text | WordPerfect
Statements: Kennard |  Ness |  Furchtgott-Roth> |  Powell |  Tristani

Copies of FCC Documents

The Electronic Comment Filing System allows you to view other comments that have been filed in FCC Docket and Rulemaking proceedings. These documents will also be available electronically in MS Word 6.0 and higher, MS Excel 4.0 and higher, Word Perfect 5.1 and higher, ASCII Text, and Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF).

Official documents released by the FCC since March 1996 are posted on the Commission’s Web Site. To find a particular document, you can use the FCC Electronic Document Management System (EDOCS) to search the EDOCS database for documents posted on the Internet.

Copies of FCC documents are also available for a fee from the FCC's duplicating contractor, Qualex International. Qualex International is located in Room CY-B402, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC, 20554. Customers wishing to sign-up for subscription services, request research services,purchase a debit card, or establish an account should contact Qualex International at 202-863-2893 or e-mail them at QUALEXINT@AOL.COM.

You may also view documents and comments at the FCC Reference Room located at 445 12th Street, Room CY-A257, in Washington, DC from 9:00AM to 4:30PM ET, Monday through Friday. The phone number for the FCC Reference Room is (202) 418-0270.

Tracking your Comments

After you have properly filed your comments with the FCC, they will be part of the official Commission record. To track the progress of proceedings in which you have filed comments, you may:

Further Assistance

For questions concerning these guidelines for filing comments to the FCC, you may contact the Office of the Secretary at (202) 418-0300, TTY (202) 418-2960.




If you would like more information pertaining to the Media Bureau, please call: (202) 418-7200.

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