LFPM Coalition files Comments in Translator-interference Proceeding

FCC Logo August 6, 2018

An Ad-hoc LPFM Coalition today filed comments in reply to an FCC request concerning how FM Translator interference is defined and processed, which is potentially very important to LPFM stations. Comments by all parties may be found in the FCC's ECFS system.


The LPFM Coalition supports the concept of improving a notoriously inefficient translator interference process that currently allows translator interference to linger for months to the detriment of LPFM listeners. This, despite Congressional findings that LPFM improves broadcast localism and diversity.

But, the Commission’s proposals must be formulated in a way that does not do more harm than good. The Notice of Proposed Rule Making in this proceeding, unfortunately, contains proposals that would actually harm LPFM listeners, in part, by taking away their individual right to seek remediation of translator interference.

The Commission proposes these curtailments of listener rights despite the clear mandates of, inter alia, the Local Community Radio Act of 2010 (“LCRA”), which Congress expressly intended to foster LPFM.

The risks posed by the NPRM proposals include implementation of a “one-size-fits-all” rubric to determine who is eligible to file for interference relief and where they must do their radio listening.

The Commission also proposes a single threshold complaint count before mandatory interference remediation in a way that would disparately impact LPFM stations. Disparities would arise because as full power stations have larger audiences to draw upon to find a sufficient number of eligible listeners ready, willing and able to file complaints.

The Commission also proposes a geographic border wall that could cut off interference complaints even from truly local listeners who have regularly used a station’s broadcast signal simply but listen on the other side of such arbitrary borderline.

Given Congress’s LCRA mandates, the Commission is simply not free to curtail these LPFM listeners’ reception with this proposal as it would undermine the LPFM-created localism Congress intended when it enacted that legislation.

The Commission can – and must – achieve its administrative efficiency goals in this proceeding in a way that does not harm LPFM listening or undermine LCRA’s Congressional Mandates. By carefully refashioning the package of regulatory changes proposed in the NPRM, the Commission can achieve the welcome goal of streamlining. But such streamlining can not, legally, occur unless the Commission adequately honors LCRA mandates.