April 2, 2001
It is incumbent upon this Commission to implement the new statutory requirements for LPFM service in a manner consistent with the intent of Congress. That feat has been accomplished here. On this point, I find that the Second Report and Order is headed in the right direction.
However, the Commission should have issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) asking for comment on the statutory language. The urgency in establishing the LPFM service cannot, and does not, overcome the need to follow the rulemaking requirements found in the Administrative Procedures Act. In any instance, a public dialogue and debate on the relevant provisions would have helped elucidate the scope and substance of the law.
In addition, the Commission should have suspended its current LPFM requirements as it examines the meaning of the statute. This step would have allowed the Commission to reconsider its LPFM rules in light of Congress’ recent actions.1 A more harmonious LPFM regime would have resulted.
Finally, I urge all interested parties to voice their views on the actions the Commission should take in implementing the LPFM experimental testing program. To faithfully execute the statute, it is imperative that these tests be performed with exacting scrutiny. I advise parties to provide the Commission with technical counsel at every step of the testing process—from the competitive bidding stage to the final report to Congress scheduled for June 2002. I look forward to working with the broadcasters and others as we carry out the statutory directives. A more harmonious LPFM regime would have resulted.