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volume 3
august 2000

FCC, Creation of Low Power Radio Service, Final rule

 





Appendix to: "Who's got the power?"
Previous
 
[Federal Register: February 15, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 31)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 7615-7649]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr15fe00 - 15]                         

[[Page 7615]]

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Part II

Federal Communications Commission
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47 CFR Parts 11, 73, and 74

Creation of Low Power Radio Service; Final Rule

[[Page 7616]]

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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Parts 11, 73 and 74

[MM Docket No. 99-25; FCC 00-19; RM 9208, 9242]
 
Creation of Low Power Radio Service

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.
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SUMMARY: This document establishes rules authorizing the operation of 
two new classes of low power FM (LPFM) radio stations. LP100 stations 
will operate at a maximum power of 100 watts and LP10 stations at a 
maximum power of 10 watts. The LPFM service will provide opportunities 
for new voices to be heard and will be implemented in a manner that 
best serves the public interest.

DATES: Effective April 17, 2000.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Julie Barrie, (202) 418-2130, Policy 
and Rules Division, Mass Media Bureau; Engineering Contact: Keith 
Larson, (202) 418-2600, Mass Media Bureau.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's Report 
and Order ("R&O"), FCC 00-19, adopted January 20, 2000; released 
January 27, 2000. The full text of the Commission's R&O is available 
for inspection and copying during normal business hours in the FCC 
Dockets Branch (Room TW-A306), 445 12 St. SW, Washington, DC. The 
complete text of this R&O may also be purchased from the Commission's 
copy contractor, International Transcription Services (202) 857-3800, 
1231 20th St., NW, Washington, DC 20036.

Synopsis of Report and Order

I. Introduction

    1. With this Report & Order, we authorize the licensing of two new 
classes of FM radio stations--one operating at a maximum power of 100 
watts and one at a maximum power of 10 watts. Both types of stations, 
known as low power FM stations (LPFM), will be authorized in a manner 
that protects existing FM service. They will be operated on a 
noncommercial educational basis by entities that do not hold an 
attributable interest in any other broadcast station or other media 
subject to our ownership rules. Initially, only entities located in the 
communities the stations serve will be eligible to participate in this 
service. Even once this eligibility criterion is relaxed, we will grant 
a significant selection preference to locally-based applicants. We 
believe that the LPFM service authorized in this proceeding will 
provide opportunities for new voices to be heard and will ensure that 
we fulfill our statutory obligation to authorize facilities in a manner 
that best serves the public interest.

    2. In establishing this new service, we are determined to preserve 
the integrity and technical excellence of existing FM radio service, 
and not to impede its transition to a digital future. In this regard, 
our own technical studies and our review of the record persuade us that 
100-watt LPFM stations operating without 3rd-adjacent channel 
separation requirements will not result in unacceptable new 
interference to the service of existing FM stations. Moreover, imposing 
3rd-adjacent channel separation requirements on LPFM stations would 
unnecessarily impede the opportunities for stations in this new 
service, particularly in highly populated areas where there is a great 
demand for alternative forms of radio service. We will not, therefore, 
impose 3rd-adjacent channel separation requirements. To avoid any 
possibility of compromising existing service, given the new nature of 
the LPFM service, we will impose separation requirements for low power 
with respect to full power stations operating on co-, 1st- and 2nd-
adjacent and intermediate frequency (IF) channels. We believe that the 
rules we are adopting will maintain the integrity of the FM band and 
preserve the opportunity for a transition to a digital radio service in 
the future, while affording significant opportunities for new radio 
service.

II. Issue Analysis

A. Goals

    3. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) we adopted on January 
28, 1999, (64 FR 7577, February 16, 1999) responded to petitions for 
rule making and related comments indicating substantial interest in, 
and public support for, increased citizens' access to the airwaves. In 
the year since we issued the NPRM, proposing rules authorizing the 
operation of new low power FM radio stations, we have received comments 
and letters from thousands of individuals and groups seeking licenses 
for new radio stations. Many of these comments, which will be discussed 
in greater detail below, included comprehensive engineering studies and 
valuable suggestions for service rules. These comments--from churches 
or other religious organizations, students, labor unions, community 
organizations and activists, musicians, and other citizens--reflect a 
broad interest in service from highly local radio stations strongly 
grounded in their communities. In authorizing this new service today, 
we enhance locally focused community-oriented radio broadcasting.

    4. Our goal in creating a new LPFM service is to create a class of 
radio stations designed to serve very localized communities or 
underrepresented groups within communities. To that end, in the NPRM we 
proposed to establish two classes of low power FM radio service: a 
1000-watt primary service and a 100-watt secondary service. We also 
sought comment on whether to establish a secondary class of stations 
operating between one and 10 watts. Commenters supporting low power 
radio generally argued for the creation of an LPFM service consisting 
of 100 or 10 watt stations. Most commenters did not support the 
creation of 1000 watt stations, arguing that the local aspect of LPFM 
service could be diminished by the size of the service area of such 
stations. Some commenters opposing the institution of 1000 watt service 
argued that 1000 watt stations present a greater interference potential 
than 100 or 10 watt stations. We also stated in the NPRM a hope that 
the largest of the proposed LPFM stations, at 1000 watts, could serve 
as a proving ground and an "entry" opportunity for new entrants into 
the full-power broadcasting industry. While we continue to view this as 
a worthwhile goal, we are persuaded by commenters that establishment of 
a 1000 watt service would not best fulfill our goals at the present 
time. Our establishment of a low power radio service consisting of two 
classes operating at maximums of 100 watts and 10 watts will allow 
licensees to serve their local communities, and will permit a greater 
number of new stations to be authorized, fostering a diversity of new 
voices on the airwaves.

    5. Another goal expressed in the NPRM was that any new LPFM service 
specifically include the voices of community based schools, churches 
and civic organizations. In the NPRM, we raised the question of whether 
the LPFM service should include both commercial and noncommercial 
licensees or whether it should be entirely noncommercial. We also 
proposed that any stations of one to 10 watts be exclusively 
noncommercial, as we did not see commercial potential in stations with 
such limited service areas. Many of the commenters supporting LPFM 
strongly supported the establishment of an entirely noncommercial 
service. We tentatively concluded that auctions would be

[[Page 7617]]

required if mutually exclusive applications for commercial LPFM 
facilities were filed, but noted that licenses for noncommercial 
educational or public broadcast stations are specifically exempted from 
auction by section 309(j). Given the overwhelming support for the 
establishment of a noncommercial service, and the tendency of auctions 
to skew the allocation of licenses away from noncommercial entities 
that are more likely to serve underrepresented sections of the 
community, we conclude that eligibility for LPFM licenses should be 
limited to noncommercial, educational entities and public safety 
entities.

    6. Finally, in proposing the creation of a new LPFM service, we 
made clear that we will not compromise the integrity of the FM 
spectrum. We are committed to creating a low power FM radio service 
only if it does not cause unacceptable interference to existing radio 
service. The NPRM proposed that current restrictions on 3rd-adjacent 
channel operations might be eliminated in order to establish an LPFM 
service and also sought comment as to whether 2nd-adjacent channel 
separations are necessary. The modification of our existing rules 
concerning channel separations has generated extensive comment, as well 
as extensive engineering studies. Our Office of Engineering and 
Technology has conducted its own engineering tests, and has 
comprehensively reviewed the studies submitted by commenters. The rules 
adopted today reflect our well-considered conclusion that the 
elimination of 3rd-adjacent channel separation requirements for LPFM 
stations will not cause unacceptable levels of interference to existing 
radio stations. We recognize that the elimination of restrictions on 
both the 2nd-and 3rd-adjacent channels would create many more 
opportunities for community-based LPFM stations, but, given the 
ambiguity in the record on this issue and our commitment to ensure that 
the new LPFM service does not unacceptably interfere with existing 
radio services or impede a digital future for radio broadcasting, we 
must proceed cautiously. Accordingly, we will impose 2nd-adjacent 
channel separation requirements on LPFM stations.

B. Classes of Service

    7. Background. In the NPRM, the Commission proposed to authorize 
two classes of LPFM stations: (1) an LP1000 class which would be for 
primary stations operating with an effective radiated power (ERP) of 
between 500 and 1,000 watts and with an antenna height above average 
terrain (HAAT) up to 60 meters, and (2) an LP100 class which would be 
for stations operating on a secondary basis with between 50 and 100 
watts ERP and with antennas up to 30 meters HAAT. We also sought 
comment on a very low power secondary LP10 service with an ERP between 
one and 10 watts. For each proposal, the Commission sought comment on 
the power levels associated with each class, the eligibility for such 
stations and the effects that each class may have on the full power 
radio service.

    8. Comments. LP1000. Generally speaking, the proposal to authorize 
LP1000 stations generated the most controversy among the commenters. 
The topic was one of the few areas that generated opposition by both 
current full service broadcasters and low power radio proponents, 
although for different reasons. Commenters connected to the existing 
broadcast industry and the Association of Federal Communications 
Consulting Engineers (AFCCE) expressed their concerns regarding the 
large potential for interference posed by such operations. 
Additionally, AFCCE, as well as commenters that generally support the 
LP1000 proposal, expressed concerns that the service could preclude 
other lower powered LPFM stations. Most commenters supporting the 
LP1000 proposal proposed to limit LP1000 stations to rural areas or 
areas where sufficient spectrum could be found for both LP1000 and 
LP100 classes of service.

    9. LP100. The proposal for LP100 stations generated the most 
positive comments. Commenters generally felt that LP100 stations would 
provide a reasonable coverage area while remaining small enough to 
continue focusing on local needs. From an engineering standpoint, 
various commenters, stated that the LP100 proposal appears 
"reasonable" and the proposed power range would allow the use of 
equipment, such as exciters and simple single bay antennas, that are 
already available. Not all comments were favorable, however. In general 
most negative comments shared the view stated by Disney that "[a] 
secondary LP100 service is undesirable for two reasons: first, because 
it would be difficult to establish a procedural and enforcement 
framework that would adequately protect FM broadcasters from 
interference; and second, because LP100 stations would create only 
marginal new radio listenership given the overriding levels of 
interference they would receive from full service stations."

    10. LP10. The Commission's proposal for an LP10 service operating 
with 10 watts or less elicited both highly favorable support and 
vociferous opposition. Most support for the proposal came from 
individuals and public interest groups. The comments in favor of LP10 
generally viewed such a service as suitable for school campuses and 
local community organizations that wish to serve small areas and do not 
have the resources to construct and operate a higher-powered facility. 
Furthermore, given what they saw as a smaller potential for 
interference, these groups considered LP10 as the best option for 
crowded urban areas where higher-powered facilities are not likely to 
fit. On the other hand, most comments opposing the LP10 proposal came 
from broadcasters and individuals concerned that the Commission would 
not be able to enforce its rules against the numerous LP10 stations and 
that widespread interference would result.

    11. Decision. We will not authorize 1000 watt stations. We will, 
however, authorize LP100 and LP10 stations, in two separate stages. 
First, we will license LP100 stations. These stations generally will 
provide coverage appropriate to community needs and interests expressed 
in the record in this rule making. The Mass Media Bureau is delegated 
authority to issue an initial and subsequent public notices inviting 
the filing of applications for LP100 stations on dates consistent with 
this Order and processing requirements. After a period of time 
sufficient to process the initial LP100 applications, the Mass Media 
Bureau is authorized to open a filing window for applications for LP10 
stations, which can also serve very localized community needs. We adopt 
this sequential process in order to provide the larger (100 watt) 
stations with their greater service areas the first opportunity to 
become established. Given that some LP10 stations can be sited where 
LP100 stations cannot, we expect that opportunities will remain for 
LP10 after the initial demand for LP100 stations has been accommodated. 
Additionally, our own resources will be better spent first advancing 
service to relatively greater areas.

    12. However, the record, including comments from both current 
broadcasters and public interest groups who were opposed to stations as 
large as 1000 watts, convinces us that licensing such a service is not 
in the public interest. As argued by commenters, 1000 watt stations may 
pose a greater interference concern for existing broadcasters and are 
not necessary to meet the most pressing and widespread demand for 
service

[[Page 7618]]

expressed in the record. Moreover, LP1000 stations could have a 
significant preclusive effect on the licensing of LP100 and LP10 
stations. Yet, these lower powered stations will permit many more 
opportunities for community-oriented service than would 1000-watt 
stations.

1. LP100 Service

    13. LP100 stations will be authorized to operate with maximum 
facilities equivalent to 100 watts ERP at 30 meters (100 feet) HAAT and 
minimum facilities equivalent to 50 watts at 30 meters (100 feet). This 
would permit a maximum 1 mV/m contour (60 dBu) with a radius of 
approximately 5.6 kilometers (3.5 miles), subject to the radio 
environment. Depending on population density, such a station could 
serve hundreds or thousands of listeners. This service will allow LPFM 
licensees to broadcast affordably to communities of moderate size and 
interest groups that are geographically proximate, such as ethnic, 
professional, industry and student groups, and retirement 
neighborhoods. Spectrum rights and responsibilities for this service 
are addressed below.

2. LP10 Service

    14. LP10 stations will operate at between one and 10 watts ERP and 
an antenna height of up to 30 meters (100 feet) HAAT. Such stations 
will produce a 60 dBu signal out to about 1.6 to 3.2 kilometers (1 to 2 
miles) from the antenna site. Such stations will fit in some locations 
where LP100 stations cannot, due to separation requirements, and will 
provide groups with the opportunity to operate stations that reach 
smaller communities or groups with a common interest. Spectrum rights 
and responsibilities for this service are addressed below.

C. Nature of Service and Licensees

1. Noncommercial Educational Service

    15. Background. In proposing the creation of a new LPFM service, 
the Commission set forth its goals of encouraging diverse voices on the 
nation's airwaves and creating opportunities for new entrants in 
broadcasting. We raised the question of whether the service should be 
noncommercial in nature. We noted that while mutually exclusive 
commercial broadcast applications are subject to auction, certain 
noncommercial stations are specifically exempted from our auction 
authority.

    16. Comments. Of those commenters supporting LPFM, an overwhelming 
majority endorsed establishing it as a noncommercial service. 
Commenters stressed the diversity that would be created by a 
noncommercial service, and argued that noncommercial radio is the best 
way to serve local communities. Other commenters, however, argued that 
low-power FM licensees should be available to both noncommercial and 
commercial licensees.

    17. Decision. We will establish LPFM as a noncommercial educational 
service. Our goals in establishing this new service are to create 
opportunities for new voices on the air waves and to allow local 
groups, including schools, churches and other community-based 
organizations, to provide programming responsive to local community 
needs and interests. We believe that a noncommercial service is more 
likely to fulfill this role effectively than a commercial service. 
Commercial broadcast stations, by their very nature, have commercial 
incentives to maximize audience size in order to improve their ratings 
and thereby increase their advertising revenues. We are concerned that 
these commercial incentives could frustrate achievement of our goal in 
establishing this service: to foster a program service responsive to 
the needs and interests of small local community groups, particularly 
specialized community needs that have not been well served by 
commercial broadcast stations. We believe that noncommercial licensees, 
which are not subject to commercial imperatives to maximize audience 
size, are more likely than commercial licensees to serve small, local 
groups with particular shared needs and interests, such as linguistic 
and cultural minorities or groups with shared civic or educational 
interests that may now be underserved by advertiser-supported 
commercial radio and higher powered noncommercial radio stations. We 
note that commenters addressing this issue favored establishing LPFM as 
a noncommercial service by a substantial margin, though some have 
argued that a commercial service could provide ownership opportunities 
for new entrants. While we have considered the entrepreneurial 
opportunities that low power radio stations might create, we 
nonetheless conclude that a noncommercial service would best serve the 
Commission's goals of bringing additional diversity to radio 
broadcasting and serving local community needs in a focused manner.

    18. Establishing LPFM as a noncommercial service will have the 
added benefit of giving us additional flexibility to assign licenses 
for this service in a manner that is most likely to place them in the 
hands of local community groups that are in the best position to serve 
local community needs. As a general matter, where mutually exclusive 
applications are filed for initial commercial licenses or construction 
permits, the licenses or permits must be awarded by competitive bidding 
pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 309(j). Licenses for noncommercial educational 
broadcast stations, as described in section 397(6) of the Act, however, 
are not subject to competitive bidding. Accordingly, having decided to 
establish LPFM as a noncommercial service, we will require that LPFM 
licensees comply with the eligibility requirements of section 397(6) of 
the Act.

    19. Section 397(6) of the Act defines "noncommercial educational 
broadcast station" as a station which:

    (A) Under the rules and regulations of the Commission in effect on 
the effective date of this paragraph, is eligible to be licensed by the 
Commission as a noncommercial educational radio or television broadcast 
station and which is owned and operated by a public agency or nonprofit 
private foundation, corporation, or association; or

    (B) Is owned and operated by a municipality and which transmits 
only noncommercial programs for education purposes. Since the statute 
incorporates by reference the Commission's noncommercial eligibility 
rules, we must look to those rules in determining noncommercial 
eligibility under section 397(6) of the Act. The Commission's rules 
limit eligibility for noncommercial radio stations to nonprofit 
educational organizations that show that the station will be used "for 
the advancement of an educational program." In applying this rule, the 
Commission has required that applicants be (a) a government or public 
educational agency, board or institution, or (b) a private, nonprofit 
educational organization, or (c) a nonprofit entity with a demonstrated 
educational purpose. We require that an applicant described in (a) or 
(b) have an educational program and demonstrate how its programming 
will be used for the advancement of that program. An applicant applying 
as (c) must specifically show (i) that it is in fact a nonprofit 
educational organization, (ii) that it has an educational objective, 
and (iii) how its programming will further that objective.

    20. The requirement that NCE licensees provide programming that 
advances an educational objective may be satisfied by a variety of 
programs, including but not limited to

[[Page 7619]]

"instructional programs, programming selected by students, bible 
study, cultural programming, in-depth news coverage, and children's 
programs such as Sesame Street that entertain as they teach." We have 
also stated that "in order to qualify as an educational station, it is 
not necessary that the proposed programming be exclusively 
educational." Given the latitude that entities have under our rules to 
qualify as NCEs, we do not believe that limiting eligibility for LPFM 
licenses to NCEs will unduly limit the range of groups that will be 
eligible to apply for LPFM licenses or the services that they can 
provide.

2. Public Safety and Transportation

    21. Background. One appropriate use of LPFM stations is use by 
public safety or transportation organizations. Although the NPRM did 
not specifically raise this issue, a number of commenters proposed it.

    22. Comments. We received a number of comments from public safety 
and transportation entities arguing that they would use LPFM stations 
to serve communities' need for public safety and traffic information.

    23. Decision. The public safety and transportation commenters 
propose important uses for low power FM stations. LPFM stations could 
be used by state or local governments or other not-for-profit entities 
to provide traffic, weather, and other public safety information to 
local communities. The use of LPFM stations for public safety purposes 
will further our goal of better serving local communities. Certain of 
these entities already hold TIS or other broadcast licenses. We 
emphasize, however, that we will not exempt these licenses from the 
cross-ownership restrictions, described below, and will therefore 
require TIS licensees or other public safety or transportation 
licensees, to return their existing licenses upon the initiation of 
LPFM service. Thus, in addition to noncommercial, educational 
organizations, associations or entities as described above, public 
safety radio services used by state or local governments or not-for-
profit organizations, as defined in 47 U.S.C. 309(j)(2)(A), will be 
eligible for LPFM licenses.

D. Eligibility and Ownership

    24. In order to further our diversity goals and foster local, 
community-based service, we will not allow any broadcaster or other 
media entity subject to our ownership rules to control or to hold an 
attributable ownership interest in an LPFM station or enter broadcast 
related operating agreements with an LPFM licensee. Additionally, to 
foster the local nature of LPFM service, we are limiting eligibility to 
local entities during the first two years LPFM licenses are available. 
We are also adopting a significant local ownership preference to be 
applied in resolving mutually exclusive applications. After local 
entities have had an opportunity to apply for construction permits, we 
will permit applications by qualified non-local applicants. After the 
first two years, we will permit multiple ownership of LPFM stations 
nationally, but only up to a maximum of 10 LPFM stations over a phased-
in period.

    25. Throughout this discussion we use the term "community" in a 
manner different from our traditional use of the term. Here, we use the 
term to refer to the very small area and population group that will 
make up the potential service area and audience of an LPFM station. 
Given the very small nature of LPFM service contours and prospective 
audiences, we do not expect LPFM service areas to be coincident with 
traditional political boundaries that we use to define communities in 
other contexts, such as our allocations process.

1. Cross-Ownership Restrictions

    26. Background. In the NPRM, the Commission tentatively concluded 
that strict cross-ownership restrictions would be appropriate for low 
power radio. We proposed to prohibit any person or entity with an 
attributable interest in a broadcast station from having an ownership 
interest in any LPFM station in any market. We sought comment on 
whether the proposed strict cross-ownership restrictions would 
unnecessarily prevent individuals and entities with valuable broadcast 
experience from contributing to the success of the LPFM service. We 
also asked for comment on whether broadcasters with an attributable 
interest in broadcasting stations should be allowed to establish an 
LPFM station in a community where they do not have an attributable 
broadcast interest. We proposed to prohibit joint sales agreements, 
time brokerage agreements, local marketing or management agreements, 
and similar arrangements between full power broadcasters and low power 
radio entities. We also sought comment on whether the cross-ownership 
restriction should be extended to prevent common ownership of LPFM 
stations with cable systems, newspapers, or other mass media.

    27. Comments. Several commercial broadcasters, educational 
broadcasters and individuals propose that cross ownership be allowed. 
Some commenters propose that current broadcasters be allowed to apply 
for LPFM stations, but that they should be required to give up their 
current station license prior to initiating operations at the LPFM 
station. Others propose that full service station owners not be barred, 
so long as the LPFM station is in another market.

    28. Most commenters, however, oppose cross-ownership of full-
service stations and LPFM stations. Most commenters also support the 
Commission's proposal to prohibit arrangements between full service 
broadcasters and LPFM entities, such as joint sales and time brokerage 
agreements.

    29. Decision. We will prohibit common ownership of LPFM and any 
other broadcast station, including translators and low power television 
stations, as well as other media subject to our ownership rules. See: 
47 CFR 73.3555, 76.501.) Thus, no broadcaster or other media entity, or 
any party with an attributable interest in them, can hold any 
attributable ownership interest in an LPFM licensee. One of the most 
important purposes of establishing this service is to afford small, 
community-based organizations an opportunity to communicate over the 
airwaves and thus expand diversity of ownership--a purpose inconsistent 
with common ownership of LPFM stations and existing broadcast 
facilities or other media interests. Moreover, many of the commenters' 
remarks favoring cross ownership are directed to the establishment of 
the proposed LP1000 service. These arguments regarding efficiencies and 
economies and competitive standing for stations that might compete 
commercially, however, are less applicable to noncommercial educational 
LP100 and LP10 stations. Similarly, our own expressed concern that 
cross-ownership limits could retard the development of low power radio 
by excluding entities with broadcast experience is less pressing in the 
absence of commercial 1000 watt stations. We conclude that our interest 
in providing for new voices to speak to the community, and providing a 
medium for new speakers to gain experience in the field, would be best 
served by barring cross-ownership between LPFM licensees and existing 
broadcast owners and other media entities. This prohibition is national 
and absolute in nature, unlike our existing cross-media ownership 
rules. Thus, for example, a newspaper cannot have an attributable 
interest in any LPFM station, regardless of whether the newspaper and 
LPFM station are co-located. We believe our interest in

[[Page 7620]]

promoting diversity warrants such a strict approach.

    30. We have also decided to prohibit operating agreements in any 
form, including time brokerage agreements, local marketing or 
management agreements, and similar arrangements, between full power 
broadcasters and LPFM broadcasters, or between two or more low power 
licensees. Many commenters strongly oppose allowing any form of 
operating agreement that would dilute new ownership in the low power 
service. We are concerned that such agreements too readily could 
undermine the strict cross-ownership restriction adopted by allowing an 
ineligible entity to program or manage an LPFM station. We see no harm, 
however, in permitting any existing licensee to apply for an LPFM 
station on the condition that it is otherwise qualified and it 
represents that it will divest its interest prior to commencement of 
LPFM operations.

2. Requirement That Applicant Be Community-Based

    31. Background. In the NPRM, we sought comment on whether to 
establish a local residency requirement, although we were not inclined, 
at that time, to do so. We were concerned that a residency requirement 
would limit the pool of potential owners of low power stations and 
would deny opportunity to individuals and entities who resided in a 
location where no frequency is available, as there will not be low 
power frequencies available in every community. We also noted that we 
expected in the case of LP100s and LP10 stations, in particular, that 
the very nature of the stations would attract primarily local or nearby 
residents. We note that given our decision to restrict eligibility to 
noncommercial educational entities, the term "residency" is somewhat 
misleading. The issue now is whether we should limit applicants to 
entities based within the local community they wish to serve and, if 
so, how we should define whether or not they are community-based. 
Nonetheless, given that the NPRM and comments are cast in terms of 
residency, we will continue to use the term, but do so in the 
organizational or institutional sense noted here.

    32. Comments. Most commenters support a requirement that LPFM 
licensees be locally based. They argue that local residents are more 
likely to be aware of issues of importance to the local community, and 
to gear their programming accordingly. On the other hand, many 
commenters oppose the imposition of a residency requirement. Some argue 
that a local residency requirement would be struck down under the 
standards set forth by Bechtel v. FCC. Some point out that a residency 
requirement is incompatible with a five-to ten-station national 
ownership cap.

    33. Decision. We continue to be concerned about the potentially 
preclusive effect of a strict local "residency" requirement and do 
not believe that local sources are the only valuable sources of 
information and service. Nonetheless, this service is intended to 
respond to the highly local interests that are not necessarily being 
met by full-power stations. Furthermore, since LPFM will be a 
noncommercial educational service, we cannot rely on commercial market 
forces and business incentives to ensure that local needs are 
fulfilled. Given the small coverage of LPFM stations, and our intention 
that the particular needs and interests of these small areas be served, 
local familiarity is more significant than it might be for a station 
serving a larger area and population. We thus conclude, after 
consideration of the comments and on further reflection, that the 
disadvantages of imposing a requirement that applicants be community-
based are outweighed by the benefits to be gained by maximizing the 
likelihood that LPFM stations are operated by entities grounded in the 
communities they serve. Accordingly, for the initial and subsequent 
windows opened within two years after the first filing window for LPFM 
service has been opened, all LPFM applicants must be based within 10 
miles of the station they seek to operate. This means that the 
applicant must be able to certify that it or its local chapter or 
branch is physically headquartered, has a campus, or has 75 percent of 
its board members residing within 10 miles of the reference coordinates 
of the proposed transmitting antenna. We chose the 10-mile distance as 
proportionate to most stations' likely effective reach. We are 
concerned that a larger distance, in many areas of the country, could 
lead to ownership outside the bounds of the station's real community 
and the people they will actually serve. We are concerned that a 
smaller area would too severely and unduly restrict the opportunities 
presented by LPFM. An organization providing public safety radio 
services will be considered community-based in the area over which it 
has jurisdiction. Beginning two years after the first window for LPFM 
service has been opened, non-local applicants will be eligible to apply 
in subsequent windows for those classes of stations pursuant to public 
notices issued by the Mass Media Bureau. By this approach, we intend to 
make it more likely that local entities will operate this service. If 
no local entities come forward, however, we do not want the available 
spectrum to go unused.

    34. We do not find convincing the argument made by some commenters 
that imposition of a local residency eligibility requirement here would 
pose the same legal problems as the "integration of ownership and 
management" factor formerly employed as a comparative criterion in the 
commercial broadcast service. While that comparative criterion was 
overturned as arbitrary and capricious in the Bechtel case, that case 
did not invalidate a preference for locally based applicants per se. 
Rather, it rejected a preference for a particular form of business 
organization--in which station owners worked more than a certain number 
of hours per week at their station--that had not been shown to provide 
superior service even though the preference had been used for many 
years. The preference for local licensees here, in contrast, rests on 
our predictive judgment that local entities with their roots in the 
community will be more attuned and responsive to the needs of that 
community, which have heretofore been underserved by commercial 
broadcasters. We believe that local residence should carry particular 
weight here because we envision LPFM as a uniquely local service 
designed to serve local community needs. We note that while the court 
invalidated the integration criterion in the Bechtel decision, it 
recognized that an applicant who is familiar with the community is 
likely to be aware of its special needs.

    35. Furthermore, we believe that local roots are particularly 
important in a noncommercial educational service like LPFM. As noted 
above, we cannot rely on commercial market forces to ensure that LPFM 
licensees are responsive to local needs because they will be 
noncommercial entities providing noncommercial program services. 
Indeed, Congress and the Commission have long recognized the unique 
role played by local entities in providing noncommercial educational 
programming, and we have favored local entities in providing other 
noncommercial educational services.

    36. Finally, we do not believe that our preference for local 
applicants here raises the concerns voiced by the court in Bechtel. The 
court was concerned in Bechtel that the integration preference elevated 
quantitative factors--the number of hours the station owners promised 
to work at the station--over arguably more important qualitative 
factors such as broadcast experience and

[[Page 7621]]

established local residence. In contrast, the community-based 
requirement that we adopt today does not rest on quantitative factors 
and is not based on promises of future conduct. Rather, we are adopting 
a simple, straightforward requirement that applicants be based in the 
local community. In addition, a primary concern underlying the court's 
decision was that there was no obligation for a successful applicant in 
the commercial broadcast service to adhere to its integration proposal, 
and there was no evidence indicating the extent to which licensees had 
done so in the past. In contrast, LPFM licenses will not be 
transferable, so we can be assured that a local entity that is awarded 
the license will continue to operate the station. For these reasons, we 
do not believe that the community-based requirement that we adopt today 
suffers from the problems identified by the court in the Bechtel 
decision.

3. National Ownership Limits

    37. Background. In the NPRM, we also sought comment on the issue of 
a national multiple ownership cap. In particular, we asked whether a 
limit of five or ten stations nationally would provide a reasonable 
opportunity to attain efficiencies of operation while preserving the 
availability of the stations to a wide range of applicants and their 
essentially local character.

    38. Comments. Comments on this issue are wide-ranging in their 
opinions. Some groups favor an absolute nationwide one-station-per-
owner limit, arguing that a one-station-per-entity cap would distribute 
the low power stations as widely as possible and create the opportunity 
for the most diverse ownership. Some commenters support a less strict 
national cap, arguing that some national cap will promote greater 
diversity in the service, but that a one-per-owner limit is excessively 
restrictive. Several commenters agree with the Commission's suggested 
range of five to ten stations, nationally. Finally, some groups oppose 
any type of national cap.

    39. Decision. We are adopting a staged rule, which will initially 
foster diversity by disallowing any common ownership of LPFM stations, 
but eventually permit the accumulation of additional stations where 
local applicants fail to come forward. This will increase the service 
available to the public and permit the efficiencies that can be 
achieved by multiple ownership where there is not an immediate local 
interest in operating a station. To achieve this, we will require that 
for the first two years of LPFM service, any one entity may own only 
one LPFM station. The two year-long period will begin on the day that 
the first LP100 filing window opens for applications. After the first 
two years, to bring into use whatever low power stations remain 
available but unapplied for, we will allow one entity to own up to five 
stations nationally, and after the first three years of this service, 
we will allow an entity to own up to ten stations nationwide.

    40. In addition to ensuring the fullest use of LPFM spectrum in the 
long term, we believe that this tiered system will balance the 
interests of local entities, which we expect to be the first entrants 
in this service, and national noncommercial educational entities, which 
may be interested in additional local outlets to increase their reach 
and to achieve certain efficiencies of operation. We note the 
attribution exception for national or other large entities with local 
community-based chapters, discussed below in the attribution section, 
which will allow the local chapters to apply as individual entities and 
thus not be constrained by this national ownership provision.

    41. In the NPRM, we tentatively concluded that Section 202 of the 
Telecommunications Act of 1996 (the 1996 Act) eliminating national 
multiple ownership restrictions for existing full power commercial 
stations does not apply to a new broadcast service. Given our decision 
to limit LPFM to noncommercial educational broadcasters, section 202 
clearly does not apply to LPFM and we need not discuss this issue 
further.

4. Local Ownership Limits

    42. Background. In the NPRM, we proposed to prohibit entities from 
owning more than one LPFM station in the same community. We were 
concerned that it would be difficult to achieve wide new entry into the 
broadcasting market and enhance diversity if more than one low power 
station in an area were under common control. At the same time, we 
sought comment on whether such a restriction would inappropriately deny 
to LPFM licensees the efficiencies achievable through multiple 
ownership, and on what cooperative arrangements might facilitate the 
development of LPFM service without unduly diluting its benefits. We 
also sought comment on the appropriate definition of "market" or 
"community" for the purposes of LPFM service.

    43. Comments. Many commenters agree strongly with the Commission's 
proposal that LPFM ownership should be limited to one station per 
community. They argue that allowing multiple ownership in a local area 
would reduce the number and diminish the diversity of new entrants. 
Most contend that the demand for stations from local owners will be 
plentiful and that there will be no need to allow outside owners to own 
low power stations. A few commenters address the issue of the 
definition of "community" for the purpose of determining the 
limitations of local ownership but none offered specific alternative 
definitions. Some commenters expressed concern that the current 
Commission definition of a "community" is ambiguous and therefore 
subject to inequitable application.

    44. Decision. We will restrict local ownership and allow one entity 
to own only one LPFM station in a "community." We concur with those 
commenters who expressed concern over the potential for diminution of 
diversity in ownership if one entity were allowed to control more than 
one station in their community. The comments opposing the restriction 
seem directed to and more appropriate in the context of the proposed 
1000 watt service, which could have operated commercially. The primary 
benefit of local multiple ownership, increased efficiency, is less 
compelling with respect to LP100 and LP10 noncommercial educational 
stations, particularly as compared to the benefit to a community of 
multiple community-based voices. As noted, we use the term community in 
this Report and Order to refer to the very small population group that 
makes up a station's potential audience. For purposes of the local 
ownership limits, we will require that no entity own or have an 
attributable interest in two or more LPFM stations located within 7 
miles of each other. That is, to comply with our local ownership 
limits, the antennas of commonly-owned stations must be separated by at 
least seven miles. We believe seven miles is appropriate given the 
approximately 3.5 mile signal reach of LP100 stations. Although the 
signal reach of LP10 stations is smaller, for the sake of simplicity we 
will apply the seven-mile ownership separation to both classes of 
service.

    45. In the NPRM we noted that section 202 of the 1996 Act permitted 
significant local multiple ownership of full power commercial radio 
stations but questioned whether this standard would apply to a new low 
power service. Our decision here, however, to limit LPFM stations to 
noncommercial educational service renders this question moot. As 
discussed above regarding the national multiple ownership issue, 
section 202, by its

[[Page 7622]]

terms, does not apply to noncommercial stations.

    46. We note that the attribution exception for local chapters of 
national entities, discussed in the next section, will allow local 
chapters to apply as individual entities and thus avoid the bar that 
the national ownership rules would otherwise impose.

5. Attribution

    47. Background. Given the significance we have accorded the 
ownership of LPFM stations, the strict cross-and multiple-ownership 
rules and the community-based eligibility and selection criteria we are 
adopting, determining who "owns" or constitutes a low power radio 
applicant or licensee is critically important. In the NPRM, we sought 
comment on what interests or relationships should be attributable in 
this regard.

    48. Comments. Comments on attribution vary widely. Some commenters 
express concern that if the existing attribution rules were applied to 
these stations, some entities with large national organizations and 
small chapters would be unable to hold multiple licenses even though 
they maintain a local presence and would provide community-oriented 
programming. Other commenters propose that attribution rules be waived 
in the case of accredited educational institutions, so that they can 
hold a full power station and also an LPFM station.

    49. Decision. We will apply rules similar to the existing 
commercial attribution rules to determine a licensee's compliance with 
the ownership limits set forth above. Because many of the entities that 
will hold LPFM licenses will be non-stock corporations (or other non-
stock entities), we will attribute the interests of the applicant, its 
parents, its subsidiaries, their officers and members of their 
governing boards. If an entity that holds an LPFM license does have 
stock, then the existing attribution rules will apply and voting stock 
interest of 5% or more will be attributable unless the investor is 
passive in nature, in which case voting stock interests of 20% or more 
will be attributable. Partners and non-insulated limited partners are 
attributable, as are officers and directors. Non-voting stock and debt 
are not attributable unless they satisfy the "equity-debt-plus" 
standards set forth in our recent attribution order. Thus, for example, 
if a full-power broadcaster in a community were to invest in an LPFM 
licensee in that same community and the investment accounted for more 
than 33% of the LPFM's total capitalization, the investment would be 
attributable and would violate the cross-ownership ban discussed above. 
Similarly, if a director of the same full power broadcaster were to act 
as an officer of the LPFM, the director would be attributed with both 
stations and would violate the ban. Consistent with the existing 
commercial attribution rules, however, an exception will apply to 
certain officers and directors of the parent of an LPFM applicant or 
licensee. Such an officer or director may hold otherwise attributable 
interests in a broadcast licensee or other media entity subject to our 
ownership rules without making the LPFM applicant ineligible, provided 
the duties and responsibilities of the officer or director are wholly 
unrelated to the LPFM station and the officer or director recuses 
himself or herself from consideration of any matters affecting the LPFM 
station. This exception will avoid making ineligible entities that will 
serve the purposes of this service well, such as universities or 
schools, which may have large and diverse board membership, while 
protecting against control of an LPFM licensee by ineligible media 
owners. For the same reason, in the LPFM context we will extend the 
exception to officers and directors of the LPFM applicant or licensee 
itself, if that entity is a multifaceted organization, such as a 
university, and the duties and responsibilities of the officer or 
director are wholly unrelated to the LPFM station and the officer or 
director recuses himself or herself from consideration of any matters 
affecting the LPFM station. We emphasize that these exceptions are 
narrow in scope. An individual holding an attributable media interest 
may not act as an officer of the LPFM station, nor function in any 
other attributable role.

    50. We will, moreover, include an attribution exception for local 
chapters of national or other large organizations. In the event that a 
local chapter can demonstrate that it: (1) Is separately incorporated, 
and (2) has a distinct local presence and mission, the local chapter 
can apply for a license in its own right and the national entity's 
"ownership" will not be attributed to it. In order to meet this 
standard, the local entity must be able to show a significant 
membership within the community, as well as a local purpose that can be 
distinguished from its national purpose. For example, the general 
purpose of raising awareness of the toxic waste problem in the United 
States would not suffice, but raising awareness of the toxic waste 
problem in particular local areas would meet the local purpose 
standard.

6. General Character Qualifications and Unlicensed Broadcasters

    51. Background. In the NPRM, we generally proposed to apply the 
same standards for character qualification requirements to all LPFM 
broadcasters as we do to full power broadcasters. The Commission asked 
if commenters saw any reason to distinguish between full and low power 
radio licensees for this purpose. In addition, we sought comment on 
whether to disqualify unlicensed broadcasters who once violated or who 
still are violating Commission rules. We sought comment on whether the 
Commission should adopt a middle ground and accept applications from 
parties who have broadcast illegally, but who either (1) promptly 
ceased operation when advised by the Commission to do so, or (2) 
voluntarily ceased operation within ten days of the publication of the 
NPRM in the Federal Register.

    52. Comments. Many individuals insist that without radio 
"pirates," LPFM would not have been created. Others, such as Amherst 
and UCC, et al., support the middle ground set forth in the NPRM, 
saying that it is most fair to the interests of future low power 
broadcasters and to the public. Many commenters believe that anyone who 
has operated illegally should not be eligible for a license. Some 
object to restricting parties with an interest in a broadcast station 
from owning an LPFM station, but allowing "pirates" to own them.

    53. Decision. We have decided, as we proposed, to apply the same 
character qualification requirements to low power station licensees as 
we currently apply to full power licensees. The Commission's character 
policy is underpinned by our interest in a licensee's truthfulness and 
reliability. We have a critical need to ascertain whether a licensee 
will in the future be forthright in its dealings with the Commission 
and operate its station in a manner consistent with the requirements of 
the Communications Act and the Commission's rules and policies. No 
commenter showed a reason to distinguish between full and low power 
broadcasters on this basis, and we do not believe one exists.

    54. The most significant specific question that character concerns 
raise in the context of this proceeding, as discussed in the NPRM, is 
how past illegal broadcast operations reflect on that entity's 
proclivity "to deal truthfully with the Commission and to comply with 
our rules and policies," and thus on its basic qualifications to hold 
a license. We are persuaded to

[[Page 7623]]

adopt our original proposal and accept a low power applicant who, if it 
at some time broadcast illegally, certifies, under penalty of perjury, 
that: (1) It voluntarily ceased engaging in the unlicensed operation of 
any station no later than February 26, 1999, without specific direction 
to terminate by the FCC; or (2) it ceased engaging in the unlicensed 
operation of any facility within 24 hours of being advised by the 
Commission to do so. Applicants will be required to make such 
certifications as part of their applications for an LPFM station. Such 
certifications will be made with respect to the applicant as well as 
all parties to the application (i.e., any party with an attributable 
interest in the applicant). Submission of false or misleading 
certifications will subject the applicant to enforcement action 
including fines, revocation of license and criminal penalties.

    55. Contrary to some commenters arguments, this rule does not 
unconstitutionally infringe on the First Amendment rights of unlicensed 
broadcasters. Disqualification under this rule is based solely on lack 
of compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements. All parties 
should note, however, that as licensed broadcasters, ignorance, 
whatever its cause, is not considered an excuse for violation, and full 
compliance with our rules will be required. Moreover, as implied by the 
provisions of the NPRM, the illegality of unauthorized broadcasting 
must now be presumed to be well-known, and any unlicensed broadcast 
operation occurring more than 10 days after the NPRM was issued will 
make the applicant ineligible for low power, full power, or any other 
kind of license and will be subject to fines, seizure of their 
equipment, and criminal penalties.

E. Technical Rules

1. Spectrum for Low Power Radio

    56. Background. In the NPRM, the Commission stated that it did not 
intend to allocate new spectrum for a low power radio broadcasting 
service. The utilization of new spectrum would require listeners to 
purchase new equipment to receive the service, which would 
significantly delay the benefits of the service to the public. We 
proposed to authorize low power radio stations within the FM band only. 
This determination was based partly on the extent of congestion within 
the AM band, with numerous existing stations experiencing significant 
interference. Furthermore, we recognized that low power AM stations 
were capable of causing significantly higher levels of interference as 
a result of AM signal propagation characteristics. With regard to the 
use of the FM band, we concluded that the large number of existing FM 
stations precluded us from designating any specific frequencies for 
LPFM service, as no such channels are available throughout the country. 
Thus we sought comment on whether we should allow LPFM stations to 
operate throughout the entire band or restrict the reserved portion of 
the FM band (Channels 201-220) for noncommercial educational (NCE) 
stations. We also contemplated that low power radio stations would 
desire to use auxiliary broadcast frequencies, where available--for 
example, for studio-to-transmitter links and transmissions of remote 
broadcasts--and sought comment in this regard.

    57. Comments. No commenters specifically supported the allocation 
of new spectrum for the proposed service. Many commenters agreed that 
existing interference within the AM band and the relative complexity of 
AM facilities should preclude consideration of a low power AM service. 
Some commenters, however, argue that an AM low power station should be 
an option in areas where the FM spectrum is too crowded to permit new 
stations. With regard to the FM band, most commenters support the view 
that the reserved band should continue to be reserved for NCE use only. 
However, several other commenters are particularly concerned that the 
introduction of numerous new stations in the reserved band would 
potentially increase interference to existing stations, especially in 
areas beyond their protected contours. At the same time, other 
commenters expressed the desire to allow NCE low power stations 
throughout the FM band.

    58. Decision. We will authorize low power radio stations throughout 
the FM band, where the stations will fit, but not in the AM band. 
Although FM band crowding may preclude or limit LPFM opportunities in 
certain markets, we are not persuaded that the creation of an AM low 
power radio service is warranted. We note that we are adopting minimum 
distance separations between LPFM and full-service stations based upon 
the assumption that full service stations operate with maximum height 
and power for their class. Therefore, an LPFM station would generally 
provide greater protection to stations operating in the reserved band 
than that afforded to them by other full service stations, for which 
station facilities are spaced more closely on the basis of the contour 
protection methodology. Because LPFM stations will be licensed 
throughout the FM band, they will not be concentrated in the reserved 
portion of the FM spectrum. We note, however, that LPFM stations, 
regardless of their location in the FM band, are reserved to qualified 
NCEs. We will apply the same interference protection and other 
technical standards for LPFM operations in the reserved and nonreserved 
bands. This will facilitate application processing and uniform LPFM 
technical operating requirements.

    59. In view of their relatively smaller service areas, we believe 
that most LPFM stations will co-locate program origination and 
transmission facilities. As a result, these stations would not require 
studio-to-transmitter links (STL) between these facilities. However, we 
will not foreclose LPFM operators the use of broadcast auxiliary 
frequencies used by full-service radio stations for this purpose. LPFM 
stations may also desire to air programming relayed from a remote 
location, such as an athletic event, or in connection with news 
gathering. Generally, we will permit entities authorized to operate 
LPFM stations to use remote pickup frequencies and radio broadcast 
auxiliary frequencies in the manner in which full-service stations use 
these frequencies, pursuant to the technical rules and procedures given 
in subparts D and E of part 74 of our rules. However, we will require 
that LPFM operations on auxiliary frequencies be secondary to that of 
full-service broadcast stations and other primary users, given the 
congestion of frequency use in some locales. We note that TV auxiliary 
frequencies are licensed to low power TV stations on this basis. An 
entity seeking to operate an LPFM station may apply for broadcast 
auxiliary license only after it has been authorized to construct the 
LPFM station.

2. LPFM Spectrum Rights and Responsibilities

    60. Background. In the NPRM, we raised issues regarding the 
spectrum priority of the contemplated classes of LPFM service. We 
recognized that our resolution of these issues would affect where LPFM 
stations could locate and the stability of their operations. 
Additionally, LPFM interference protection rights and responsibilities 
could affect existing and future FM radio service. The NPRM proposed a 
1000-watt primary service and a 100-watt secondary service. It sought 
comment on a 10-watt class of LPFM station that would be secondary to 
all other FM radio services. As proposed, LP100 and LP10 stations would 
not be permitted to interfere within the protected service contours of 
existing

[[Page 7624]]

and future primary stations and would not be protected against 
interference from these stations. We sought comment on whether LP100 
stations should be permitted to select channels without regard to 
interference received and on the extent to which LP100 stations should 
protect FM translator and booster stations.

    61. Comments: Given our decision not to create a 1000-watt LPFM 
station class, this summary is limited to the issue of spectrum 
priorities for LP100 and LP10 stations. The comments were divided on 
whether LPFM stations should have a primary or secondary regulatory 
status. Several commenters supported primary status for all LPFM 
stations, mainly to help ensure their survival. Some commenters 
supported a modified form of primary status for LPFM. Other commenters, 
including some broadcast licensees, supported a secondary status for 
LPFM stations.

    62. Decision. In crafting interference protection rights and 
responsibilities for an LPFM service, we seek to balance our vital 
interest in maintaining the technical integrity of existing radio 
services with our desire to create a supple and viable community-
oriented radio service. First and foremost, we must require that new 
LPFM stations protect radio reception within the service areas of 
existing full-service stations, as well as the existing services of FM 
translator and booster stations. Second, LPFM stations, with their much 
smaller service areas and fewer service regulations, should not prevent 
FM stations from modifying or upgrading their facilities, nor should 
they preclude opportunities for new full-service stations. 
Additionally, LPFM applications will be required to protect vacant FM 
allotments. Subject to these constraints, however, we want to foster a 
stable and enduring LPFM service. Once an LPFM station is built and 
operating, we wish to permit it to continue operating on its channel, 
wherever possible, as the radio environment changes around it. We want 
to minimize, to the extent possible, the situations in which we would 
require an LPFM station to change its channel or cease operating. This 
measure of stability, we believe, would assist LPFM station applicants 
or operators in obtaining financing to construct and operate stations 
and to better serve their communities. It may also create an incentive 
for the operation of a first local radio station in many communities or 
radio service that would be responsive to other unmet needs. We believe 
the approach set forth below appropriately balances the above 
objectives.

    63. Protection to existing FM radio services: Applicants for new or 
modified LP100 or LP10 facilities will be required to meet minimum 
station separation distances to protect the service contours of 
authorized commercial and noncommercial FM stations of all classes, 
including Class D. In the same manner, they will be required to protect 
the existing service of FM translator and booster stations and LP100 
stations. We will also require LPFM applicants to protect full-service 
FM, FM translator and LP100 facilities proposed in applications (for 
example, FM minor change applications) filed before a public notice 
announcing an LPFM application filing window. Applications filed after 
the release date of an LPFM window notice will not be protected against 
LPFM applications filed in that window. However, full-service 
applicants will not be required to protect the facilities proposed in 
LPFM applications. We believe this approach fairly balances the 
interests of full-service and LPFM applicants. LPFM station proposals 
to operate on channels 201-220 will also be required to protect 
television stations operating on TV Channel 6. Applicants for LP100 
stations will not be required to protect authorized LP10 stations or 
LP10 application proposals, given the relatively smaller service areas 
of LP10 stations.

    64. The extent of interference protection from LPFM stations to 
existing FM, LPFM and FM translator and booster service generally will 
be that afforded by minimum station separation requirements. These were 
designed to provide the same degree of interference protection that 
full-service stations provide each other. We have added a 20-kilometer 
buffer to the separations for protecting co-channel and first adjacent 
channel full-service stations. This buffer will help to protect FM 
radio facilities that were modified or upgraded in a manner that would 
create a short-spacing with an operating LPFM station. LPFM stations 
will not be required to eliminate interference caused to FM stations by 
their lawful operations. They will, however, be required to eliminate 
interference caused by operations that violate the terms of the 
station's authorization or the Commission's Rules; for example, 
radiation of excessive emissions outside of the station's authorized 
channel. LPFM station operators will also be required to respond to 
complaints of "blanketing" interference. They will also be subject to 
international agreements regarding the elimination of interference to 
primary Canadian or Mexican broadcast stations. Until these agreements 
are modified, we believe it is appropriate to apply to LPFM stations 
the international provisions applicable to FM translators, which 
operate at comparable power levels.

    65. LPFM rights and responsibilities with respect to subsequently 
modified, upgraded or new full-service FM stations. We are not adopting 
for the LPFM service many of the regulations applicable to full-service 
stations; for example LPFM stations will not be required to have a main 
studio. LPFM stations also will service much smaller areas than full-
service stations. For these reasons, we do not believe that an LPFM 
station should be given an interference protection right that would 
prevent a full-service station from seeking to modify its transmission 
facilities or upgrade to a higher service class. Nor should LPFM 
stations foreclose opportunities to seek new full-service radio 
stations. Accordingly, operating LPFM stations will not be protected 
against interference from subsequently authorized full-service facility 
modifications, upgrades, or new FM stations. Because we will not 
protect LPFM from future FM facilities, we will not require LPFM 
applicants to meet minimum distance separation requirements to protect 
their service areas against interference received. However, as a guide 
to LPFM applicants, the attached rules includes minimum station 
separation distances necessary to protect an LPFM station's 60 dBu 
contour.

    66. We expressed our desire to provide a measure of stability to 
operating LPFM stations. For this purpose, we will permit LPFM stations 
to continue operating even though they would cause interference within 
the protected service contours of a subsequent authorized FM service, 
including new stations and facilities modifications or upgrades of 
existing stations. In such situations, the LPFM operator would decide 
whether interference received to its service would permit the station 
to continue operating on its channel. However, we must make one 
exception to this policy. FM stations have a core responsibility to 
service their principal communities. Therefore, we will not permit an 
operating LPFM station to cause interference within a commercial or NCE 
FM station's 3.16 mV/m (70 dB) contour. This issue can only arise in 
connection with a subsequently filed full-service new station or 
modification application. If grant of such an application would result 
in predicted interference within the 3.16 mV/m (70 dBu) contour of the 
proposed station,

[[Page 7625]]

the affected LPFM station will be provided an opportunity to 
demonstrate that interference is unlikely to occur within this contour 
due to, for example, terrain shielding. If the LPFM station fails to 
make a sufficient showing, it will be directed to cease operations upon 
the commencement of program tests by the commercial or NCE FM station.

    67. We recognize that actual interference within the 3.16 mV/m 
contour might still be possible where the LPFM station has demonstrated 
that it is unlikely. In these circumstances, a complaint of actual 
interference must be served on the LPFM station and filed with the 
Commission, attention Audio Services Division. The LPFM station must 
suspend operations within twenty-four hours of the receipt of a 
complaint unless the interference has been eliminated by the 
application of suitable techniques and to the satisfaction of the 
complainant. An LPFM station may resume operations only at the 
direction of the Commission. If the Commission determines that a 
complainant has refused to permit the LPFM station to apply remedial 
techniques that demonstrably will eliminate the interference without 
impairment of the original reception of the full-service station, the 
licensee of the LPFM station will be absolved of further 
responsibility. As a practical matter we believe that in many cases 
involving FM station modifications or upgrades, interference to new or 
expanded areas will be offset by the conservative separation distances 
met by the LPFM station when it was initially authorized, particularly 
because of the 20-kilometer interference protection buffer.

3. Minimum Distance Separation Requirements

    68. Background. The NPRM tentatively concluded that minimum 
distance separation requirements for LPFM stations would provide the 
most efficient means to process a large number of applications while 
ensuring the overall technical integrity of the FM service. We proposed 
minimum spacings to protect full-service station operation on the same 
channel, first-adjacent channel and intermediate frequency (IF) 
channels. We proposed to exclude third-adjacent channel protection and 
questioned the need for second-adjacent channel spacing requirements. 
We noted that the use of a contour overlap methodology could 
significantly delay the implementation of the LPFM service because it 
would require substantial preparation on the part of applicants and the 
Commission and would increase the processing burden on the staff. The 
NPRM included spacing tables for the proposed LPFM classes based on the 
interference protection ratios that underlie full-service radio 
separations and the assumption that stations operate at the maximum 
height and power for their station class. We sought comment on the 
accuracy of the specific values listed in these tables. In addition, we 
requested comment as to whether alternate approaches, including contour 
overlap methodology and/or more sophisticated terrain modeling 
programs, should be used at a later time, based on our initial 
experience in authorizing LPFM service.

    69. Comments. No comments challenge any of the specific values 
listed in our proposed minimum distance separation tables. However, one 
suggests an alternate methodology based upon a full service station's 
44 dBu F(50,50) protected service contour, instead of the 60 dBu 
contour that defines the protected service contours for all NCE and 
many commercial stations. Although it does not calculate distance 
separations, some commenters argue that our separation requirements 
should protect actual service areas beyond protected contours. Several 
commenters urged either the use of a contour overlap methodology or a 
combination of contour overlap and separation requirements in order to 
accommodate the licensing of additional LPFM stations.

    70. Decision. We recognize that a distance separation methodology 
will preclude new LPFM stations in some areas. However, we are not 
persuaded that the potential benefit of some additional stations is 
substantial enough to warrant the preparation of more complex and 
costly engineering exhibits based on contour protection and the 
resulting delays in the authorization of LPFM service. Therefore, we 
are adopting minimum separation requirements for the LPFM service as 
the means of protecting full service commercial and noncommercial 
educational stations. We also adopt spacing rules to protect FM 
translator stations and other LPFM stations, as well as a spacing table 
for LPFM stations operating on Channels 201 through 220 with respect to 
protection of TV Channel 6. As we proposed in the NPRM, we will not 
establish minimum separations between LPFM stations that operate two or 
three channels apart. Special case spacing tables are also being 
adopted for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additionally, 
appropriate spacings will be used for the approximately 20 
"grandfathered superpowered" stations operating in the reserved band. 
Superpowered stations will be protected under the distance separations 
for the class of station that most closely approximates its facilities. 
This determination will be made based upon the stations 1 m V/m 
reference contour and the procedures for determining class listed in 
Sec. 73.211. LPFM applicants should be mindful of the fact that the 
minimum separation distances being adopted will not protect LPFM 
stations against interference from the full service stations, but are 
designed to prevent the LPFM station from causing interference to the 
protected service areas of full-service FM and other protected 
stations. However, as a guide to LPFM applicants, we are including in 
the rules a table giving the minimum separations necessary to avoid 
interference within the LPFM station service areas.

    71. The minimum distance separation requirements that we adopt here 
for LPFM stations do not apply to full-service stations and FM 
translators. To prevent subsequently filed FM translator stations from 
causing interference to existing LPFM stations, we will expand the 
current FM translator interference protection rules to include a 
requirement that previously authorized LPFM stations be protected. As 
noted, we will permit a full service station to modify its facility in 
a manner that reduces these separations to LPFM stations. However, in 
such cases we generally will not require the LPFM station to cease 
operation. Instead, the affected stations will have to bear any 
interference caused by facilities changes, such as an FM transmitter 
site move. However, so as to reduce the potential impact on the 
affected stations, the spacing rules we adopt today include a 20 km 
"buffer" for co-channel and first-adjacent channel LPFM-to-full-
service-FM stations. This additional separation is included for two 
reasons. First of all, we recognize that the FM band is not static. For 
example, broadcast stations often change transmitter sites to provide 
better service to their communities and service areas. Same-station-
class transmitter site moves are generally less than 20 km from the 
original site. Therefore, inclusion of the 20 km buffer spacing allows 
full-service stations room to move while also reducing the potential 
impact on existing LPFM stations. Second, and equally important, the 
additional separation affords the LPFM station an increased likelihood 
that its operation would not cause interference within a full service 
station's community of license. This additional 20 km separation will 
apply

[[Page 7626]]

only to the initial establishment of the LPFM station. Subsequent site 
moves by the LPFM station would either need to meet this distance 
separation requirement, or if the existing spacing were already less 
than this amount due to a prior site move by a full service station, 
the spacing could not be less than the currently existing separation.

    72. International Coordination Provisions. We are also adopting 
provisions for LP10 and LP100 stations which lie within 320 km of the 
Canadian or Mexican borders, consonant with existing international 
agreements between the respective countries. We will apply the existing 
FM translator rule, 47 CFR 74.1235, and current international 
coordination procedures to LPFM stations in these areas. In the rules, 
we include distance separation tables that were intended to ensure 
compliance with the appropriate international agreements. We will adopt 
these tables to the extent that foreign stations are provided the 
appropriate protection. We have also derived similar tables for LP10 
stations. We will only accept LPFM proposals that meet these distances. 
Such proposals will be coordinated as required by the pertinent 
agreements. In addition, LP10 and LP100 applicants in the U.S. Virgin 
Islands should be aware that international coordination may be required 
with the British Virgin Islands in some instances.

4. Second and Third Adjacent Channel Protection

    73. Background. In the NPRM we sought comment on the interference 
protection criteria to be used to govern the authorization of low power 
radio services. We stated that low power stations would be subject to 
existing co-channel and 1st-adjacent channel protections but that to 
the extent possible we were inclined to authorize low power service 
without any 2nd- and 3rd-adjacent channel protection standards. We 
stated our belief that a strong case could be made for not requiring 
3rd-adjacent channel protection to or from any of the contemplated 
classes of LPFM stations. We indicated that such an approach would 
entail little risk of interference to existing radio service. We noted 
that areas of potential interference to a full power station would be 
very small and occur only in the immediate vicinity of the low power 
transmission facility. We further indicated that such interference 
would generally only occur if the low power station were located at, or 
very near, the outer edge of the full power station's service contour 
where the full power station's signal is the weakest. We noted that 
3rd-adjacent channel protection was eliminated for certain 
grandfathered and short-spaced full power stations in 1997. On balance, 
we stated that creating opportunities for a new LPFM service should 
outweigh any small risks of interference to and from LP1000 and LP100 
stations.

    74. With regard to 2nd-adjacent channel protection, we noted that 
"grandfathered" short-spaced FM facilities were permitted to modify 
their facilities without regard to 2nd- and 3rd-adjacent channel 
spacings during the period from 1964 to 1987, and from 1997 to the 
present. We indicated that no interference complaints were received as 
a result of those modifications and found that the small risk of 
interference was outweighed by improved service. Similarly, we noted 
that we have been willing in the past to accept small amounts of 
potential 2nd- and 3rd-adjacent channel interference in the 
noncommercial FM service where such interference is counterbalanced by 
substantial service gains. We sought comment on the state of receiver 
technology and the ability of receivers to operate satisfactorily in 
the absence of 2nd-adjacent channel protection. We also sought comment 
on the impact of eliminating 2nd-adjacent channel protection on the 
possible conversion of existing analog radio services to a digital 
mode, in particular with regard to in-band-on-channel (IBOC) 
technology. In this regard, we noted that one IBOC proponent, suggested 
that 2nd-adjacent channel signals from analog FM stations in the 
existing radio environment would not pose an interference threat to its 
digital IBOC signal.

    75. Comments. Technical studies of FM receivers were filed in 
response to the NPRM by Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association; 
by National Association of Broadcasters; and by National Lawyers' 
Guild, Committee on Democratic Communications. In addition, the 
Commission's Office of Engineering and Technology conducted a receiver 
study and placed it in the record of this proceeding. Supplementary 
findings and critiques were filed with reply comments.

    76. Decision. We find that the record in this proceeding, including 
the technical data and other studies submitted, supports a conclusion 
that any risk of interference from LPFM stations of 100 watts or less 
is small and, on balance, is outweighed by the benefits of this new 
service. We conclude that it is not necessary to apply 3rd-adjacent 
channel protection requirements to or from such stations. We believe 
that 100-watt or lower LPFM stations operating on 3rd-adjacent channels 
will not result in significant new interference to the service of 
existing FM stations. Nor do we believe such operations are likely to 
have an adverse effect on digital IBOC signals.

    77. With regard to 2nd-adjacent channel protection requirements, it 
appears that the risk of interference from LPFM signals on 2nd-adjacent 
channels may be somewhat higher. We find that this would also be true 
with regard to LPFM stations at power levels higher than 100 watts and 
antenna heights higher than 30 meters. Therefore, we will retain 2nd-
adjacent channel protection requirements.

5. Other Technical Standards and Provisions

    78. Background. In the NPRM, we sought comment on which part 73 
technical operating requirements for full-service stations should be 
applied to LPFM stations. In general, most commenters stated that, 
although some requirements must remain to ensure a quality service, the 
LP100 and LP10 stations should be held to less stringent requirements 
than full service stations. While we do not want to overly burden LPFM 
operators, we nevertheless believe that the technical rules set forth 
below should apply to the LPFM stations. By doing so, we will not only 
facilitate technically sound LPFM operations and the use of available 
equipment, but will permit LPFM stations to engage in services such as 
those obtained through the multiplexing of FM subcarriers. There are 
some requirements applicable to full-service stations which we believe 
can be relaxed or not applied. Accordingly, we will apply certain rules 
to LP10 stations that apply to existing stations that operate with ten 
watts transmitter power output (TPO) or less. The following paragraphs 
set forth the principal technical requirements and provisions for LPFM 
stations. These technical matters were generally non-controversial to 
parties who filed comments in this proceeding. Other technical 
requirements for LPFM stations are given in the rules.

    79. Power/Height restrictions. Several commenters expressed the 
desire to operate facilities at heights in excess of those specified as 
the maximum/minimum facilities for the class. This would enable 
stations to use existing structures at sites where the localized 
elevation is such that the 30 meter HAAT would be exceeded regardless 
of the height of the structure. One commenter, believes we should 
impose strict maximum height restrictions on LPFM stations since, due 
to the nature of the Commission's F(50,10)

[[Page 7627]]

interference prediction curves, equivalent 1 mV/m (60 dBu) reference 
contours do not always guarantee proportionally sized interfering 
contours. We will allow LPFM stations to exceed the class-defined upper 
height restrictions as long as there is an offsetting decrease in the 
station's effective radiated power. For this purpose, we will authorize 
equivalent height and power combinations to produce the 60 dBu contour 
generated by the maximum and minimum permitted facilities for the LP100 
and LP10 stations; e.g., the maximum LP100 facilities of 100 watts and 
30 meters produce a 60 dBu contour at a distance of 5.6 km.

    80. We recognize that computing a station's HAAT requires access to 
terrain database and numerous calculations. Therefore, in order to 
streamline the application process, the staff will utilize a computer 
program to calculate the antenna HAAT based upon information provided 
by the LPFM applicant (the coordinates of the proposed antenna, the 
site elevation above mean sea level, and the antenna height above 
ground level (AGL)). If the calculated HAAT is less than or equal to 30 
meters, the LPFM station will be authorized to operate with any ERP 
within the maximum and minimum limits for its class. If the HAAT is 
calculated to exceed 30 meters, the permit will specify maximum and 
minimum ERP values that would produce the reference 60 dBu contours.

    81. Directional antennas. Under our current rules, full service FM 
stations may specify directional antennas to avoid interference to 
other stations. Such facilities are subject to several strict 
installation and pattern requirements (see 47 CFR 73.316). Processing 
these applications is staff intensive. Construction permits for 
directional facilities generally contain numerous conditions. Since we 
are relying on a minimum distance separation methodology--rather than a 
contour-based approach--to provide interference protection, we see no 
need for stations to employ directional antennas. Accordingly, to 
simplify applicant requirements and facilitate application processing 
and ensure that service can be implemented as expeditiously as 
possible, we will not authorize directional antennas for LPFM stations.

    82. Transmission standards. The NPRM asked whether different 
transmission standards should be employed for an LPFM service; for 
example, whether the bandwidth could be reduced from 200 kHz to some 
smaller value as a means of reducing the potential interference from 
LPFM stations. To ensure technically sound station operations, we have 
decided to apply to LPFM several transmission standards presently in 
use for commercial and noncommercial educational FM stations. In most 
cases, these standards will be met through the use of type certified 
equipment without need for further adjustment by the LPFM licensee. 
LPFM stations will be required to adhere to the 200 kHz channel 
bandwidth applicable to full service stations, as well as the out-of-
channel signal attenuation requirements in 47 CFR 73.317, the center 
frequency drift limits in 47 CFR 73.1545(b), and the limits on 
modulation in 47 CFR 73.1570(a) and (b). In addition, LPFM stations 
may, at their option, engage in monophonic or stereophonic 
broadcasting. LPFM stations may also transmit additional information 
via inaudible subcarriers during those periods when the audible FM 
signal is on the air.

    83. Antenna polarization. We will permit LP10 and LP100 stations 
throughout the FM band to use horizontally polarized, vertically 
polarized, or circularly or elliptically polarized antennas, as desired 
by the applicant. We note that vertical-only polarized antennas have 
been used in the noncommercial educational FM service to protect 
reception of TV Channel 6 for nearly 15 years now, without adverse 
impact. This will afford LPFM stations a wider selection of antennas 
for use at LPFM stations.

    84. Protection of AM radio radiation patterns. LPFM applicants 
should also be aware that antenna structure construction within 3.2 km 
(2 miles) of a directional AM station or 0.8 km (0.5 miles) of a 
nondirectional AM station will subject the LPFM station to the 
requirements of 47 CFR 73.1692. This section requires the affected AM 
station to make before and after measurements of its installation to 
insure that the new antenna structure does not aversely affect the 
signal pattern through reflections of the AM signal produced by the new 
structure. The LPFM applicant is financially responsible for conducting 
the measurements and any corrective measures that may need to be 
undertaken. The measurements can be quite expensive to conduct, and 
correction even more so. Therefore, we encourage LPFM applicants to 
locate the antenna more than 3.2 km from any directional AM station, or 
more than 0.8 km from any AM nondirectional station.

    85. Tower Height/FAA Coordination Requirements. Any proposal before 
the Commission that specifies an antenna supporting structure in excess 
of 61 meters above ground level is subject to the Commission's 
requirements for antenna structure registration requirements. Certain 
lower structures located close to air facilities are also subject to 
these requirements. All structures subject to registration requirements 
must obtain an FAA Determination of No Air Hazard for the structure 
before the tower may be registered. In a letter dated June 1, 1999, the 
FAA expressed some concern regarding the impact LP1000 stations may 
have upon nearby air facilities. No specific questions were raised 
regarding the lower powered facilities. Since we are not authorizing an 
LP1000 service at this time, we will continue determining compliance 
with our tower registration requirements in the manner set forth.

    86. Blanketing Interference. For one year after the commencement of 
transmissions with new or modified facilities, all FM stations are 
required to take remedial action to resolve blanketing interference 
complaints occurring within the immediate vicinity of the antenna site. 
A station's specific blanketing interference radius is defined by our 
rules. The blanketing contour for an LP100 station would extend 
approximately 125 meters from the transmitter site and a 10-watt LP10 
blanketing contour would extend 39 meters. Thus, the blanketing area of 
either type of station is very small. We conclude that LPFM stations 
should be required to resolve blanketing interference complaints in the 
same manner applicable to full power stations. Although the potential 
for blanketing interference from LPFM stations may be quite limited, 
affected parties are entitled to relief from such interference caused 
by a new source of radiation, whether it is a full-power commercial 
station or a new low power community broadcaster. Accordingly, we will 
apply the requirements in Sec. 73.318 to all LPFM stations, in 
accordance with established precedents.

    87. Potential Television Channel 6 Interference. Presently, 
noncommercial educational FM applicants are required to consider the 
impact of their operations on reception of television Channel 6, which 
operates on a frequency band (82 to 88 MHz) just below the FM band (88 
to 108 MHz) in accordance with the provisions of 47 CFR 73.525. 
Determining the affected interference area pursuant to this section 
usually requires complex calculations and detailed contour studies. 
Given the very limited potential for interference caused by LPFM 
stations, in order to simplify processing and lessen the filing burden 
on applicants, we will utilize a spacing

[[Page 7628]]

table to protect TV Channel 6 stations. The values given in the table 
utilize the protection ratios of Sec. 73.525 and worst case facilities 
for the TV Channel 6 and the LP10 and LP100 stations. On this basis, we 
do not anticipate that interference will occur. However, we will 
require LPFM applicants to correct any complaints of interference 
caused to Channel 6 reception in accordance with our blanketing 
interference requirements (as are Channel 6 complaints regarding full 
service stations). In most cases, this will require the installation of 
simple filters on affected television sets. LPFM applicants will not be 
required to coordinate their proposals with any potentially affected 
Channel 6 television station.

    88. Radio Reading Services. Several radio reading services have 
expressed concerns about interference from LPFM stations to their 
service to persons who are blind or who have low vision. Programming 
provided by radio reading services is transmitted on subcarrier 
frequencies of a broadcast station, which are not audible on a standard 
radio. As the subcarrier frequencies are transmitted within the 200 kHz 
bandwidth of the broadcast station, they receive the same protection 
from interference as does the main broadcast programming. Thus, insofar 
as the transmitted subcarrier signal is concerned, there will be no 
increase in interference. With respect to subcarrier receivers used by 
the radio reading service audience, the Commission does not set 
technical standards for radio receivers. Thus, we cannot consider 
whether additional interference might affect SCA reception in the 
vicinity of an LPFM station, or whether different receiver construction 
could reduce possible interference. However, we note that the 20 km 
buffer between LPFM stations and co-channel or 1st adjacent channel 
full service FM stations adopted in this document should afford 
additional protection to subcarrier reception than was proposed in the 
NPRM.

    89. Transmitter Certification. In the NPRM, we tentatively 
concluded LPFM stations should utilize only transmitters deemed "type 
certified" by the Commission's Office of Engineering and Technology 
(OET) to ensure the integrity of the FM radio spectrum. Type 
certification would prevent the use of transmitters with excessive 
bandwidth or modulation, spurious emissions, excessive power output, or 
insufficient frequency stability, which could cause interference to 
other existing stations. A large majority of commenters concurred with 
this conclusion. A few licensed amateur radio operators felt that they 
should be exempt from this requirement, asserting that many amateurs 
were capable of creating suitable equipment. However, we remain 
concerned about the significant potential for interference caused by 
non-type certified transmitters, particularly given the interference-
protection standards we are adopting. Nor do we believe that type 
certification of equipment by the manufacturer will add appreciably to 
the cost of equipment for a low power broadcast radio station. 
Accordingly, we will adopt the certification requirement as proposed in 
the NPRM. We emphasize that the use of non-type certified transmitters 
will not be tolerated. Use of non-type certified transmitters will 
subject the licensee to enforcement action including, but not limited 
to, fines.

    90. Unattended Operation. We anticipate that many LPFM stations 
will be run as "attended operations," since the transmitter sites 
will be located at the source of program origination. However, LPFM 
stations may also be operated in "unattended" mode. During these 
times, there may be no personnel at the studio or transmitter site to 
monitor operation. LPFM stations that will operate unattended will be 
required to advise the Commission by simple letter of the unattended 
operation, and provide an address and telephone number where a 
responsible party can be reached during such times. The responsible 
party must be able at all times to turn off the transmitter within 3 
hours of receiving notice from the FCC that the equipment is not 
functioning properly. In addition, we encourage the use of monitoring 
equipment that can automatically shut off the transmitter within 3 
hours if a fault (such as operation at excessive power operation or 
center frequency drift) occurs. Finally, during periods when the LPFM 
station is not transmitting programming on its regular channel, the 
transmitter must be turned off.

    91. Station Logs. Station logs provide a mechanism for verifying 
proper operation of a station, as they require the licensee to examine 
the operation before making a log entry. Logging requirements for LPFM 
stations will be minimal. The station log for LPFM will contain only 
the following entries: (1) Daily observation of proper function of 
tower obstruction lighting (if required by section 17.47 of the 
Commission's Rules); (2) dates and a brief explanation regarding 
station outages due to equipment malfunctioning, servicing or 
replacement; (3) any operation not in accordance with the station 
license; (4) receipt of weekly EAS (Emergency Alert System) test; (5) 
name of person making the entry.

    92. These minimal requirements will not impose any significant 
burden on LPFM licensees. Except for any required daily tower lighting 
checks, entries need only be made when necessary. Logs must be retained 
for two years from the date of the last entry, and station logs must be 
made available to FCC personnel upon request.

    93. Environmental Requirements. As with any applicant for a 
Commission license, an LPFM proponent will have to certify compliance 
with the environmental requirements of section 1.1307 of our rules. In 
order to facilitate the preparation and processing of LPFM 
applications, we will simplify the environmental compliance worksheets 
included in the current FCC Form 301 to account for the low operating 
power of LPFM stations.

    94. Radio Astronomy Installation Notifications. Low power FM 
broadcast stations will be required to coordinate with and provide 
protection to the radio quiet zones at Green, West Virginia and at 
Boulder Colorado, as is required for full service FM stations by 
Sec. 73.1030. In addition, low power FM applicants in Puerto Rico will 
need to coordinate with Cornell University regarding the radio 
coordination zone on that island. This requirement is necessary to 
ensure that research work at these installations will not be disrupted. 
Because of the low power and antenna height of LPFM stations, we 
anticipate that this requirement will affect very few applicants.

F. Application Processing

1. Electronic Filing

    95. Background. The Commission recently mandated the electronic 
filing of broadcast applications after a transition period of six 
months from the date that each form becomes available for filing 
electronically. Likewise, we proposed in the NPRM to require that LPFM 
applications be filed electronically. We stated that mandatory 
electronic filing could speed the introduction of LPFM service by 
enabling the staff to process more quickly and efficiently the large 
number of LPFM applications that we expect to receive. In addition, we 
indicated that electronic filing software could be designed to assist 
applicants with technical issues related to their applications, such as 
determining what frequencies are available based on current information 
in the Commission's database. We requested comment as to whether 
Internet access

[[Page 7629]]

is sufficiently universal to warrant mandatory electronic filing of 
LPFM applications.

    96. Comments. Commenters that addressed the matter generally 
support the use of electronic filing, but are divided as to whether it 
should be mandatory. Several commenters express concern that electronic 
filing is untried and may delay the introduction of LPFM service. 
Several commenters urge that, regardless of whether electronic filing 
is required, LPFM filing procedures should be as simple and inexpensive 
as possible.

    97. Decision. We anticipate that electronic forms will be made 
available via the Commission's World Wide Web site prior to the opening 
of the first LPFM filing window. Based on our consideration of the 
record, however, we will not adopt a mandatory electronic filing system 
for LPFM application forms at this time. Rather, assuming availability 
of the forms, we will make electronic filing permissive for the first 
LPFM filing window, which we intend to open for LP100 stations shortly 
after the effective date of this document. Whether electronic filing is 
permissive for the second window that we anticipate opening for LP10 
stations, as well as for any subsequent LPFM filing windows, will be 
resolved at a later date and will depend on several factors, including 
our experience with both electronic and paper filing during the first 
LPFM window and the time that elapses between the first and second 
windows.

    98. We recognize that, as some commenters point out, there may be 
disparities among potential LPFM applicants in terms of Internet access 
and/or computer skills. We believe that making electronic filing 
permissive at this time will accommodate applicants that might be 
disadvantaged by mandatory electronic filing. We previously have 
discussed the significant advantages of a mandatory electronic filing 
system in terms of realizing savings and efficiencies. We do not 
believe that electronic filing would necessarily constitute an undue 
burden or expense for potential LPFM applicants, as the costs of 
computer and modem equipment continue to fall, and Internet access 
increasingly is becoming available at minimal cost commercially and at 
public institutions such as libraries. In addition, the Commission has 
made, and will continue to make, great efforts to create a simple, 
user-friendly electronic filing system. However, at present we are 
determined to be cautious with the first applications for a new service 
filed by applicants whose resources and familiarity with Commission 
processes may be very limited. We will reassess our electronic filing 
decision after our experience during the first filing window. We can 
better determine at that time whether the first filing window has 
provided a reasonable opportunity for interested parties to understand 
and arrange for Internet access and familiarize themselves with our Web 
site and electronic filing system. We can then determine whether the 
public interest benefits of mandatory electronic filing will outweigh 
any difficulties encountered or inequities expected, and decide whether 
electronic filing will remain voluntary or be mandated for use by all.

    99. Although electronic filing will be permissive, we strongly 
encourage applicants to take advantage of electronic filing, and expect 
that many will do so. The forms will be accessible to anyone with a 
computer and a modem, without the need to purchase any special computer 
software. The Commission's software will make filing more certain for 
applicants by automatically notifying them of critical errors or 
omissions in their applications, and allowing them to correct the 
applications prior to submission. This software also will provide 
applicants with immediate verification that their applications have 
been received by the Commission. In addition, it will allow applicants 
to submit amendments, make corrections to their previously-filed 
applications, and submit narrative, explanatory exhibits. Furthermore, 
we intend to design additional software that will be available on the 
Commission's Web site to assist interested parties in making a 
preliminary determination as to which frequencies are available for 
LPFM use, based on current information in the Commission's database. 
Thus, LPFM applicants using the electronic filing system also will have 
access to a form of automated technical assistance in preparing their 
applications.

2. Window Filing Process

    100. Background. We proposed in the NPRM to adopt a window filing 
approach for LPFM applications, with short filing windows of a few days 
each to "lessen the occurrence of mutually exclusive applications and 
speed service to the public." The Commission recently substituted a 
uniform window filing procedure for the various application procedures 
for new commercial broadcast stations, and for major changes to 
existing stations. Under this procedure, the Commission announces by 
public notice a "window" or specific time period during which 
applications may be filed. When the window closes, the staff reviews 
the applications filed to determine whether any request mutually 
exclusive authorizations and, therefore, are subject to competitive 
bidding. Non-mutually exclusive applications are processed in 
accordance with our general procedures. Groups of mutually exclusive 
applications are identified by public notice and proceed to auction. 
The Commission also is considering substituting a window procedure for 
the two-step, cut-off list procedures now in place for full-service NCE 
broadcast applications.

    101. In the NPRM, we also asked for comment as to whether a first 
come-first served process might serve the public interest better than a 
window process by more effectively avoiding mutual exclusivity among 
LPFM applications. We speculated that electronic filing "might give us 
the capacity to ascertain the precise sequence in which applications 
are submitted by different parties." Thus, applications conflicting 
with ones filed "even a moment earlier" might be rejected as 
unacceptable for filing, avoiding mutual exclusivity in many cases. We 
noted a number of drawbacks to this approach, however, including the 
possibility that applicants might lose filing rights based solely on 
the quality of their Internet connections.

    102. Comments. Many commenters support a window filing approach, 
and offer various suggestions as to the appropriate duration of filing 
windows. Some commenters favor a first come-first served filing system, 
generally contending that it would be a better means of avoiding mutual 
exclusivity than a window approach. Several commenters suggest hybrid 
approaches combining elements of window and first come-first served 
systems.

    103. Decision. Based on our consideration of the record, we will 
adopt a window filing process for LPFM applications. We previously 
stated that a window process "provides the staff with a mechanism to 
control effectively the filing and processing of broadcast 
applications." We believe that such a mechanism is important here 
because of the large number of LPFM applications that we expect to 
receive. In addition, the first-come first-served approach envisioned 
in the NPRM, which would determine filing priority based on the exact 
time that applications are filed, is feasible only if electronic filing 
is required, which will not be the case, at least initially. Moreover, 
we are concerned that such an approach, by placing a premium on filing 
at the earliest possible moment, might unfairly disadvantage certain 
applicants based solely on the quality of their Internet

[[Page 7630]]

connections. The filing of hundreds or thousands of applications at 
once also might place unbearable strains on the LPFM electronic filing 
system. A window filing process avoids these pitfalls, as applicants 
will be able to file at any time over a period of several days without 
losing filing rights.

    104. Once this document becomes effective, the Mass Media Bureau, 
pursuant to delegated authority, will promptly release a public notice 
announcing a national filing window for LP100 applications. We 
anticipate that this window will open in May. The notice will be issued 
at least thirty days in advance of the opening of the filing window. 
Full power broadcast applications filed on or after the date of release 
of a public notice announcing the opening of an LPFM window will not 
preclude the filing of conflicting LPFM applications filed during that 
window. However, where the conflict ultimately is determined to relate 
to service inside the city grade contours of the full power station, 
the LPFM application will be dismissed. The window itself will be open 
for a period of five business days. We believe that five days, combined 
with thirty days' specific advance notice and the additional time 
between the release of this document and the public notice announcing 
the window, should give interested parties sufficient time to prepare 
and file their LPFM applications, while minimizing the number of 
mutually exclusive LPFM applications. We emphasize that applications 
filed before or after the dates specified in the public notice will not 
be accepted.

    105. In accordance with our window filing procedure for commercial 
broadcast applications, after the LPFM window closes, the staff 
initially will screen applications for the purpose of identifying those 
that are mutually exclusive and those that fail to protect existing 
broadcast stations in accordance with the standards adopted herein. 
Applications that fail to properly protect these existing stations will 
be dismissed without the applicant being afforded an opportunity to 
amend. This will increase the speed and efficiency with which LPFM 
applications can be processed by the staff. Technically acceptable non-
mutually exclusive applications will be further reviewed for 
acceptability and processed by the staff in accordance with the 
Commission's general procedures. Groups of mutually exclusive 
applications will be identified in a subsequent public notice, and will 
be subject to the selection procedures set forth. After an application 
is tentatively selected from a mutually exclusive group, it will be 
reviewed for acceptability, and a public notice will be released 
announcing the finding that the application has been tentatively 
selected and is acceptable for filing. Petitions to deny the 
application will be due within 30 days of the release of the public 
notice of its acceptability for filing. Petitions and informal 
objections will not be considered unless and until the application has 
been tentatively selected for processing and found acceptable for 
filing. A tentative selectee whose application is found unacceptable 
for filing will be given a single opportunity to submit a curative 
amendment, provided that the amendment is minor and the amended 
application has the same number of points as originally claimed, or 
more than the points claimed by the next highest applicant. Tentative 
selectees whose applications remain unacceptable for filing after this 
opportunity will be removed from their mutually exclusive groups, and 
will not be provided with an additional opportunity to amend.

    106. As stated, we are developing software to assist interested 
parties in determining whether specific frequencies may be available at 
specific locations for LPFM use. This software will not be able to 
determine conclusively whether a particular frequency will be available 
for an applicant, as frequency availability also will depend, among 
other things, on whether competing applications are filed during the 
LPFM filing window. Nevertheless, we anticipate that the software will 
help interested parties focus on potentially-available facilities, and 
will provide technical assistance for interested parties with limited 
financial resources. We anticipate that this software will be ready for 
use by the time we announce the first filing window for LPFM 
applications. The Mass Media Bureau will issue a public notice with 
information regarding how to access the software and the technical 
assistance it can provide. Such information also will be posted on the 
Commission's Web site.

3. Selection Among Mutually Exclusive Applications

    107. Background. In the NPRM, we requested comment as to whether 
the proposed LPFM service should be restricted to NCE applicants or 
open to both commercial and NCE applicants. We tentatively concluded 
that, pursuant to statutory requirements, mutually exclusive 
applications for commercial LPFM facilities would be subject to 
auction. We asked for comment on alternative methods for resolving 
mutual exclusivity among NCE LPFM applicants. We specifically referred 
commenters to our proceeding reexamining full-service NCE comparative 
standards, where we sought comment on three possible methods for 
selecting among mutually exclusive applicants: (1) Comparative 
hearings; (2) a lottery process weighted in favor of certain applicants 
based on statutory requirements and other factors; and (3) a system 
assigning points to applicants based on various selection criteria.

    108. Comments. Most commenters that address the matter oppose the 
use of competitive bidding, arguing that it would undermine the 
Commission's stated goals in establishing the LPFM service. Few 
commenters support the use of comparative hearings to resolve mutually 
exclusive NCE applications. There was support among commenters for the 
use of a lottery process, although most of these commenters argued the 
merits of lotteries over auctions, rather than over an alternative 
selection method. A number of commenters also favored the use of a 
point system. In addition, several commenters suggest that we impose 
arbitration to resolve mutual exclusivity, and one advocates the use of 
"conflict reduction methods" such as allowing "liberal channel and 
coverage changes." Commenters also propose various selection factors 
for use within a comparative selection process.

    109. Decision. Based on our consideration of the record, we shall 
adopt a point system for resolving mutual exclusivity among LPFM 
applicants. The point system will include three selection criteria: (1) 
Established community presence; (2) proposed operating hours; and (3) 
local program origination. The system will employ voluntary time-
sharing as a tie-breaker, that is, tied applicants will have an 
opportunity to aggregate points by submitting time-share proposals. As 
a last resort, where a tie is not resolved through time-sharing or 
settlement, we shall award successive equal license terms totaling 
eight years (the normal license term), without renewal expectancy for 
any of the licensees.

    110. We conclude that the point system we are adopting is superior 
to alternative selection methods. As discussed above, the LPFM service 
will be reserved for noncommercial, educational service, and we are 
precluded by statute from using auctions to award station licenses on 
channels reserved for NCE use. Accordingly, we need not discuss an 
auction-based selection mechanism. In our proceeding reexamining full-
service NCE comparative standards, we

[[Page 7631]]

tentatively rejected comparative hearings because they tend to be 
lengthy, cumbersome, and resource-intensive, without substantial 
offsetting benefits. These disadvantages make comparative hearings 
particularly ill-suited for selecting LPFM applicants. Like comparative 
hearings, mandatory arbitration and engineering solutions could impose 
significant delays on the LPFM authorization process and impose 
additional expenses on applicants. Moreover, although we will encourage 
individual settlements as a means of resolving mutual exclusivity among 
LPFM applicants, the Commission lacks the resources to administer a 
system that would require arbitration or the imposition of engineering 
solutions in every instance of mutual exclusivity. Finally, we conclude 
that a lottery system is comparatively inferior to a point system as an 
LPFM selection method. The primary benefits of a lottery system are the 
speed and ease with which it may be applied. As discussed, however, a 
point system offers like benefits. Moreover, there are unresolved legal 
and policy issues surrounding the use of a lottery system that pose a 
risk of delaying the introduction of LPFM service to the public. A 
point system does not entail similar risks. A lottery process is also 
inherently inferior to a point system in its ability to further the 
Commission's policy goals due its random nature. This randomness may be 
mitigated, but not eliminated, by weighting in favor of certain types 
of applicants. For these reasons, in the case of LPFM service, we 
reject all of these approaches in favor of a point system.

    111. Point System. We believe that a point system is the best-
suited selection methodology for promoting the Commission's policy 
goals for the LPFM service and speeding its introduction to the public. 
The Commission has used a point system procedure with success in the 
Instructional Television Fixed Service (ITFS). Like lotteries, point 
systems have the potential to be fast, inexpensive, and 
administratively efficient. Unlike lotteries, however, point systems 
make possible the selection of applicants based on objective criteria 
designed to best advance the public interest in the particular service 
at issue. Finally, the fact that LPFM licenses are non-transferable 
eliminates a major potential disadvantage of any system based on 
selection criteria; it prevents the integrity of the system from being 
undermined by the rapid assignment or transfer of station licenses by 
an entity that was awarded the license over other applicants on some 
merit basis that is not necessarily found in the buyer.

    112. Point System Operation--Selection Criteria. Our point system 
will include three selection criteria for mutually exclusive 
applicants: (1) Established community presence; (2) proposed operating 
hours; and (3) local program origination. These criteria are directly 
related to the advancement of the public interest that the Commission 
has found warrants the introduction of this new service. To protect the 
integrity of the selection process and ensure that its full benefits 
may be realized, we have chosen clear-cut selection factors that are 
objective in nature and do not require burdensome documentation.

    113. Established Community Presence. For the reasons set forth, 
first, applicants that have an established community presence of at 
least two years' duration will be awarded one point. An applicant will 
be deemed to have an established community presence where, for a period 
of at least two years prior to application, the applicant is able to 
certify that it has been physically headquartered, has had a campus, or 
has had 75 percent of its board members residing within 10 miles of the 
reference coordinates of the proposed transmitting antenna. This 
criterion will favor organizations that have been operating in the 
communities where they propose to construct an LPFM station and thus 
have "track records" of community service and established 
constituencies within their communities. We believe that such 
applicants, because of their longstanding organizational ties to their 
communities, are likely to be more attuned to, and have organizational 
experience addressing, the needs and interests of their communities. In 
this regard, a number of commenters suggest preferences based on prior 
community service and/or community support. These suggested factors 
could be subjective in nature, however, and could be burdensome to 
demonstrate and verify. In addition, we believe that preferring 
organizations that have been in existence and physically present in the 
community for two years will help prevent maneuvering of the point 
system by those who might otherwise establish multiple organizations to 
file LPFM applications.

    114. As we stated in our discussion of the community-based 
eligibility requirement, we do not believe this preference for 
established local entities contravenes the court's concerns in Bechtel. 
In adopting such a comparative factor, we further note that the Bechtel 
court was concerned that quantitative integration factors worked to the 
virtual exclusion of other factors the court deemed potentially 
relevant in determining the relative quality of service that would be 
provided by an applicant. For LPFM, we are including other selection 
factors and giving them equivalent weight in the selection process. 
Moreover, while the two-year presence factor has a quantitative aspect, 
it is objectively verifiable and does not depend on promises of future 
performance, as the integration preference did.

    115. Applicants claiming points for established community presence 
will be required to certify in their applications that they meet the 
above-stated conditions. The application form will identify appropriate 
documentation that must be made available for the point claimed. 
Applicants will be required to submit this information at the time of 
filing and it will be available in our public reference room. As with 
other broadcast applications, the Commission will rely on 
certifications but will use random audits to verify the accuracy of the 
certifications. This information also will enable applicants to verify 
that competing applicants qualify for the points they claim.

    116. Proposed Operating Hours. Second, applicants that pledge to 
operate at least 12 hours per day will be assigned one point. As set 
forth below, the minimum operating hours for LPFM stations will be five 
hours per day. This criterion does not impose any additional 
requirement, but awards points to applicants that pledge longer hours 
of operation. Applicants that propose more intensive use of the 
broadcast frequencies they seek will advance the Commission's general 
policy objective of ensuring efficient spectrum use and providing more 
programming to serve their communities.

    117. Local Program Origination. Finally, applicants that pledge to 
originate locally at least eight hours of programming per day will be 
assigned one point. For purposes of this criterion, local origination 
will be defined as the production of programming within 10 miles of the 
reference coordinates of the proposed transmitting antenna. This 
criterion derives from the service requirements for full-service 
broadcast stations, which are required to maintain the capacity to 
originate programming from their main studios. LPFM licensees will not 
be subject to main studio requirements, and will have discretion to 
determine the origination point of their programming. As a comparative 
selection factor, local program origination can advance the 
Commission's policy goal of addressing unmet needs for community-
oriented

[[Page 7632]]

radio broadcasting. In this regard, we believe that an applicant's 
intent to provide locally-originated programming is a reasonable gauge 
of whether the LPFM station will function as an outlet for community 
self-expression.

    118. With regard to both the second and the third selection 
criteria, applicants will be required to certify in their applications 
that they will meet the qualifying conditions for the points claimed. 
We will require successful applicants to adhere to their operating 
hours and local program origination pledges. As these criteria are 
prospective in nature, they will not be subject to verification at the 
application stage. The Commission will use random audits to verify the 
accuracy of the certifications, and will consider written complaints 
regarding actual performance. Consistent with our current practice, the 
staff may issue letters of inquiry requiring submission of 
documentation in connection with such audits. Where analysis of the 
requested information indicates that licensees have not fulfilled their 
pledges, appropriate action will be taken, including the possibility of 
monetary forfeitures and revocation proceedings.

    119. In choosing selection criteria, we have carefully considered 
the comments we received advocating various selection factors, as well 
as the point system elements under consideration in our proceeding 
reexamining full-service NCE comparative standards. We believe that the 
factors we have chosen best balance our interest in furthering the 
specific localized objectives of the LPFM service and avoiding 
cumbersome, subjective and manipulable criteria. We note that a number 
of commenters advocate preferences for entities controlled by 
minorities. We shall defer consideration of this matter. The Commission 
is conducting fact-finding studies as to whether such preferences may 
be justified consistent with the Supreme Court's decision in Adarand 
Constructors v. Pena. Depending on the outcome of these studies, we 
will consider in the future whether to adopt minority control as a 
point system factor.

    120. 1st Tiebreaker--Voluntary Time-Sharing. In the event that the 
point system results in a tie among two or more mutually exclusive 
applicants, applicants will have the opportunity, within 30 days of the 
release of a public notice announcing the tie, to submit amendments to 
their applications incorporating voluntary time-share proposals. Each 
time-share proponent must propose to operate at least 10 hours per 
week. Time-share proposals may function as tie-breakers in two 
different ways. First, all of the tied applicants in a mutually 
exclusive group may propose a time-share proposal, in which case the 
staff will review and process all of the tied applications. Second, 
some of the tied applicants in a mutually exclusive group may submit a 
time-share proposal, in which case the time-sharers' points will be 
aggregated. Time-sharers may aggregate points under each of the three 
selection criteria. The purpose of allowing point aggregation is to 
encourage time-share arrangements as a means of resolving mutual 
exclusivity among tied LPFM applicants. In addition, we believe that 
time-sharing arrangements will serve the public interest by increasing 
participation by a variety of local community organizations in the 
operation of LPFM stations.

    121. Our decision to incorporate voluntary time-sharing into the 
point system as a tie-breaker is based on our judgment that voluntary 
time-share arrangements have the potential to advance the Commission's 
goals for the new service. We noted in our proceeding reexamining full-
service NCE comparative standards that "[a] number of commenters 
dislike mandatory share-time arrangements, finding them confusing to 
audiences, and potentially inefficient for licensees." On a voluntary 
basis, however, time-sharing has significant potential advantages for 
LPFM applicants. From a practical standpoint, the localized nature of 
the LPFM service is likely to enhance applicants' ability to time-
share. In many cases, the small scale of LPFM operations also may make 
time-sharing more efficient for LPFM licensees. Furthermore, by 
increasing the number of new broadcast voices, time-sharing can advance 
our interest in promoting additional diversity in radio voices and 
program services through the LPFM service.

    122. Final Tiebreaker--Successive License Terms. As a last resort, 
in cases where a tie is not resolved through settlement or time-
sharing, the staff will review tied applications for acceptability. 
Applicants whose applications are grantable will be eligible for equal, 
successive license terms of no less than one year each, spanning a 
total of eight years. Successive license terms will not be granted for 
groups of more than eight tied, grantable applications. In the event of 
such a situation, the staff will dismiss all but the applications of 
the eight entities with the longest established community presences, as 
demonstrated by the documentation submitted with their applications. If 
this does not limit the group of applications to eight, the entire 
group will be deemed ungrantable and will be dismissed if, after a 
final opportunity to submit settlement proposals within 30 days of the 
release of a public notice, the situation is not resolved. Where 
successive license terms are granted, there will be no renewal 
expectancy for any of the licensees. If for some reason a successive 
term licensee becomes unable to operate the station during its portion 
of the license term, that licensee's time will be divided equally among 
the remaining licensees for that station. If none of the tied, 
grantable applications proposes same-site facilities, then all will be 
granted at the same time. The sequence of the applicants' license terms 
will be determined by the sequence in which they file their 
applications for licenses to cover their construction permits, based on 
the day of filing. However, if any of the tied, grantable construction 
permit applications propose same-site facilities, the applicants 
proposing such facilities will be required, within an additional 30 
days, to submit a settlement agreement proposing the sequence of the 
license terms for such applicants. If they fail to do so, they will be 
removed from the mutually exclusive group and the remaining 
applications will be granted.

    123. Settlements. Applicants may propose a full settlement at any 
time during the selection process after the release of the public 
notice announcing the mutually exclusive group. Such settlements must 
be universal--that is, they must involve all of the mutually exclusive 
applicants within a group--and must comply with the Commission's 
general rules for settlements, including the requirement that the 
settling parties certify that they have not received consideration for 
the dismissal of their applications in excess of their legitimate and 
prudent expenses. Settlements may incorporate voluntary time-share 
proposals.

    124. Delegated Authority. As we explained in our proceeding 
reexamining full-service NCE comparative standards, the Commission 
currently may delegate authority for applying point systems only to 
administrative law judges or to individual Commissioners. This 
statutory restriction is based on the fact that point systems 
technically are considered a type of simplified hearing. We believe 
that the staff would be able to administer the LPFM point system in a 
more streamlined manner than administrative law judges or individual

[[Page 7633]]

Commissioners. Therefore, we will seek authority from Congress, through 
specific legislation, to delegate responsibility to the staff for 
applying the point system. Until we receive such authority, the staff 
will refer point system proceedings to the Commission for disposition.

    125. Minor Modification of Authorized LPFM Stations. We will adopt 
one exception to the window filing process to permit the filing at any 
time of certain "minor change" applications. For LP100 stations, a 
minor change may involve a transmitter site relocation of less than two 
kilometers. For LP10 stations, a minor change may involve a transmitter 
site relocation of less than one kilometer. Minor change applications 
may also propose a change to an adjacent or IF frequency or, upon a 
technical showing of reduced predicted interference, to any other 
frequency. Similarly, we will consider as minor any change in frequency 
necessary to resolve actual interference. All other changes will be 
classified as "major" and subject to our window filing procedures. 
Minor change applications also must satisfy the technical and legal 
requirements applicable to LPFM stations generally.

4. License Terms and Renewals

    126. Background. In the NPRM, we asked how often and how closely we 
should actively monitor, within the parameters of our statutory 
responsibility, the performance of LP100 stations in connection with 
the license renewal process. We asked whether a pro forma process would 
satisfy any statutory requirement, in the absence of specific public 
complaint. We also asked for comment on whether stations other than 
LP1000 stations should be authorized for finite, nonrenewable periods, 
such as five or eight years, to create additional opportunities for new 
entrants in the LPFM service. We explained that making broadcast 
outlets available to more speakers is a fundamental premise of this 
rulemaking effort, and that we did not expect that such a limitation 
would discourage the very modest investment required to build such a 
station. We sought comment on whether the disruption of service to the 
public that non-renewability would involve outweighed the potential 
benefits of making this service available to more speakers on a 
consecutive basis.

    127. Comments. Commenters propose a variety of LPFM license terms 
and the majority argue that LPFM licenses should be renewable. 
Commenters suggest license terms of one, two, four, five, and seven 
years. Other commenters contend that LPFM stations should have the same 
eight year license periods granted to full power stations.

    128. Most commenters argue that all LPFM licenses should be 
renewable. Commenters also contend that LPFM licensees should have the 
same renewal expectancy as existing broadcasters.

    129. Decision. We will provide LP100 and LP10 licensees with the 
same license terms and renewal expectancy as full-power FM radio 
stations. Accordingly, licenses will be renewed for a term not to 
exceed eight years from the date of expiration of the preceding license 
and LPFM licenses will be renewed, without consideration of competing 
applicants, if they have met the renewal standard of section 309(k)(1) 
of the Act. Upon considering the comments filed in this proceeding, we 
find that granting renewable licenses is consistent with the goals we 
are seeking to advance with this service. Moreover, we believe that 
nonrenewable licenses would discourage licensees from developing 
facilities and audiences to the fullest extent possible. We therefore 
will grant, with one exception described in paragraph 132 below, 
renewable licenses for LPFM stations.

    130. Section 73.1020(a) divides the country into 18 different 
regions containing one or more states for purposes of establishing 
synchronized schedules for radio and television licenses. Radio station 
licenses expired under this rule in intervals between October 1, 1995, 
and August 1, 1998, and those licenses, renewed for eight years, will 
expire again between September 30, 2003, and July 31, 2006. We 
consistently grant initial terms for all new broadcast authorizations 
to fit into this synchronized schedule, although it means initial terms 
are usually for a period of less than eight years.

    131. We adopt these synchronized schedules for LPFM licenses 
because maintaining the predictability, administrative efficiencies, 
public awareness, and fairness inherent in the existing synchronized 
schedule of license cycles serves the public interest. Accordingly, an 
initial LPFM license granted within any renewal period set forth in 
Sec. 73.1020 of our rules will be assigned the expiration date assigned 
to those full-power FM stations licensed in the same region during the 
same licensing cycle. Because of the cyclical nature of this process, 
granting initial full eight-year license terms in the middle of a 
licensing cycle could undermine the synchronization of the whole 
process. Like full-power licenses, LPFM licenses may then be renewed 
for a term not to exceed eight years from the expiration date of the 
preceding license. This approach will reduce the regulatory burden on 
LPFM broadcasters by affording them the same maximum license terms now 
granted other broadcasters, and will correspondingly reduce the 
associated burdens on the Commission. We see no compelling reason to 
vary from the term set by Congress for full-power stations. We further 
note that, while we will authorize eight-year license terms, the public 
may scrutinize station performance and file complaints with the 
Commission at any time during the term of an LPFM license.

    132. The one exception to this rule pertains to situations where we 
grant successive license terms under the final tiebreaker procedures. 
These tiebreaker licenses will not be based on the synchronized 
licensing cycle of Sec. 73.1020. If applicants were granted last resort 
tiebreaker licenses conformed to the synchronized schedule, each 
licensee, depending on where in the renewal cycle we were, might 
receive authorizations to operate for a very short period of time, 
e.g., a few months, with no opportunity to renew their license.

    133. We will also extend the renewal expectancy provisions of 
section 309(k)(1) of the Act to LPFM licensees. Providing incumbents 
with the likelihood of renewal encourages licensees to make investments 
to ensure quality service. Upon receiving an application for renewal of 
an LPFM license, we will determine whether the licensee has served the 
public interest, convenience, and necessity; whether there have been 
any serious violations of the Act or Commission rules; and whether 
there have been any serious violations that, taken together, would 
constitute a pattern of abuse. Only if incumbent LPFM licensees fail to 
meet these requirements will other applicants be eligible to apply for 
the same license. As noted, an exception is where the license is held 
for successive terms as a result of the final tiebreaker procedure. 
Such licenses will be nonrenewable.

5. Transferability

    134. Background. In the NPRM, we noted that some commenters urged 
us to restrict the sale of LPFM stations to deter the filing of 
speculative applications and trafficking in construction permits. We 
stated our belief that, in light of the limits we proposed on ownership 
of LPFM stations, we did not believe that it was necessary to restrict 
the sale of any class of LPFM station. We invited commenters to address 
this issue, including whether restrictions on sales would be advisable 
if the Commission

[[Page 7634]]

adopts ownership rules other than those proposed in the NPRM.

    135. Comments. While comments on the transferability of LPFM 
stations were mixed, the majority of commenters that addressed this 
issue supported either prohibiting transfers altogether or severely 
restricting them. A few commenters were in favor of permitting 
transferability of LPFM stations, arguing generally that owners who 
have invested in such stations should be able to realize the fair 
market value of such stations.

    136. Decision. After careful review of the comments, we have 
decided to prohibit the transfer of construction permits and licenses 
for LPFM stations. Contrary to our initial view stated in the NPRM, we 
are persuaded that a prohibition on transfers will best promote the 
Commission's interest in ensuring that spectrum is used for low power 
operations as soon as possible, without the delay associated with 
license speculation. We are also persuaded that the goals of this new 
service, to foster opportunities for new radio broadcast ownership and 
to promote additional diversity in radio voices and program services, 
will best be met if unused permits and licenses are returned to the 
Commission. Given the modest facilities and noncommercial nature of 
LPFM stations, we do not believe non-transferability will discourage 
LPFM licensees from serving their listeners.

G. Programming and Service Rules

1. Public Interest Requirements

    137. Background. In the NPRM, we proposed to require LP1000 
licensees to adhere to the same part 73 requirements regarding public 
interest programming as apply to full-power FM licensees. We noted that 
this meant that each LP1000 licensee would be required to air 
programming serving the needs and interests of its community, using its 
discretion as to how to meet that obligation. We also listed several 
other rules, such as those regarding the broadcasting of taped, filmed, 
or recorded material, sponsorship identification, personal attacks, and 
periodic call sign announcements and sought comment on whether they 
should apply to LPFM stations. We stated a disinclination, however, to 
impose public interest programming requirements on LP100 and LP10 
licensees, given the size of operations we envisioned and the 
simplicity we were striving to achieve in this service. We expected 
that the very nature of LP100 and LP10 would ensure that they served 
the needs and interests of their communities.

    138. Comments. We received few comments on public interest 
requirements. Some commenters contend that we must apply all of the 
same basic public interest requirements to LPFM licensees that are 
applied to full-power broadcasters. Other commenters oppose any 
requirements for LP100 and LP10 stations, arguing that it would place 
an unreasonable burden on those stations.

    139. Decision. Every broadcast licensee is required to operate its 
station in the public interest. Given the nature of the LPFM service, 
however, we conclude that certain obligations imposed on full-power 
radio licensees would be unnecessary if applied to LPFM licensees. We 
expect that the local nature of this service, coupled with the 
eligibility and selection criteria we are adopting, will ensure that 
LPFM licensees will meet the needs and interests of their communities. 
Thus, for example, consistent with our rules for low power television, 
we will not adopt a rule requiring LPFM licensees to provide 
programming responsive to community issues or to maintain a list of 
issues addressed or specific programs aired.

    140. We will, however, apply certain specific rules applicable to 
all broadcasters to LPFM licensees. First, LPFM operators must, of 
course, comply with those rules required by statute. Thus, for example, 
like all broadcasters, LPFM licensees will be expressly prohibited from 
airing programming that is obscene, and restricted from airing 
programming that is "indecent" during certain times of the day. They 
must also comply with our sponsorship identification and political 
programming rules. In addition, we will require LPFM licensees to 
comply with our rules regarding taped, filmed, or recorded material, 
personal attacks, and periodic call sign announcements. Violation of 
any of these rules by an LPFM licensee would be as detrimental to its 
audience as violation by a full-power broadcaster, and widespread 
disregard for these rules could outweigh the benefits to the public 
this service is intended to bring.

2. Locally Originated Programming

    141. Background. In the NPRM, we sought comment on whether to 
impose a minimum local origination programming requirement on any of 
the three proposed classes of LPFM service. We opined that listeners 
benefit from local programming, because it often reflects needs, 
interests, circumstances, or perspectives that may be unique to that 
community. We also noted that many of LPFM's initial supporters argued 
that the Commission's rules should actively promote locally oriented 
programming by, for instance, limiting the amount of network 
programming a station could air. We expressed an expectation, however, 
that a significant amount of programming for LPFM stations would be 
locally produced as a matter of course. We also asserted that 
programming does not have to be locally produced to have interest or 
value to the listeners in a particular locale. Accordingly, we stated 
that we were inclined to give LP100 and LP10 licensees the same 
discretion as full-power licensees to determine what mix of local and 
non-local programming would best serve the community. To promote new 
broadcast voices, however, we proposed that an LPFM station not be 
permitted to operate as a translator, retransmitting the programming of 
a full-power station.

    142. Comments. Many commenters favor the adoption of a locally 
originated programming obligation. A number of commenters oppose any 
specific obligations on LPFM licensees regarding locally originated 
programming. Commenters generally agree that LFPM stations should not 
be used as translators for retransmitting full-power station 
programming.

    143. Decision. We continue to believe that LPFM licensees' 
provision of a significant amount of locally originated programming 
will enhance the success of this service. This is why we are 
encouraging the provision of locally originated programming by means of 
a licensing preference. However, we also believe that in certain cases, 
programming need not be locally originated to be responsive to local 
needs. Therefore, we do not believe it is necessary to impose specific 
requirements for locally originated programming on LPFM licensees. We 
believe that the nature of the service, combined with the eligibility 
criteria and preferences we are adopting, will ensure that LPFM 
licensees provide locally originated programming or programming that is 
otherwise responsive to local needs.

    144. We do, however, agree with commenters that LPFM stations 
should not be used for retransmitting, either terrestrially or via 
satellite, the programming of full-power stations. This would 
significantly undercut a fundamental basis for the establishment of 
this service. This prohibition against LPFM stations operating as 
translators also promotes locally originated programming by eliminating 
a

[[Page 7635]]

significant avenue for obtaining non-locally originated programming.

3. Political Programming Rules

    145. Background. In the NPRM, we sought comment on the 
applicability of political programming rules to each class of low power 
radio service that we might adopt. We explained that sections 312(a)(7) 
and 315 of the Communications Act, as amended, underlie some of these 
rules, and each is explicitly applicable to "broadcast stations." 
Thus, we lack the discretion not to apply these provisions to any class 
of LPFM station, regardless of size. We specifically sought comment on 
how each of these political broadcasting rules should be applied to 
low-power stations, taking into consideration our statutory mandate.

    146. Comments. The few comments that we received on this issue 
support our tentative conclusion to adopt political programming rules 
for LPFM stations.

    147. Decision. We conclude that we are required by statute to apply 
the same political programming rules to low-power stations that we 
apply to full-power stations. There is ample precedent for how the 
political programming rules apply to noncommercial stations and thus 
how the rules will apply to LPFM. For example, section 312(a)(7) of the 
Communications Act, as amended, requires broadcasters to allow legally 
qualified candidates for federal office reasonable access to their 
facilities, but because LPFM stations are noncommercial educational 
facilities, they must provide such access on a free basis. Section 
315(a) of the Communications Act, as amended, requiring equal 
opportunities for candidates, will also apply.

    148. In conformance with the statutory mandate, we will apply the 
reasonable access and equal opportunities provisions of the statute and 
the Commission's rules, as well as related policies delineated in prior 
Commission orders, to LPFM licensees. With respect to reasonable 
access, the Commission's policy has generally been to defer to the 
reasonable, good faith judgment of licensees as to what constitutes 
"reasonable access" under all the circumstances present in a 
particular case. Noncommercial educational stations, including LPFM 
stations, however, may not support or oppose any candidate for 
political office. LPFM licensees cannot charge legally qualified 
candidates for the time used on their stations and no LPFM licensee may 
discriminate among candidates "in practices, regulations, facilities, 
or services" or "make or give any preference to any candidate for 
public office." In addition, we will require LPFM licensees to 
maintain a political file, if needed, to record the requisite 
particulars. The political file shall be maintained for public 
inspection at an accessible place in the station's community. Finally, 
we will resolve any issues involving LPFM licensees on a case-by-case 
basis to determine whether the licensee is acting within the spirit of 
the statute and Commission rules and policies on political programming.

4. Station Identification

    149. Background. In the NPRM, we sought comment on whether to adopt 
a call sign system that would identify a low power radio station as 
such. We noted in the NPRM that a nonstandard (five letter) identifying 
call sign system was used for the first several years of licensing low 
power television (LPTV) stations, but that the Commission later allowed 
LPTV stations to adopt call signs that were like those of full power 
stations, but were appended with the suffix "-LP."

    150. Comments. Commenters are divided over whether it would be in 
the public interest to employ special call signs that would help 
identify LPFM stations as low power. Some commenters argue that the use 
of call signs would help to identify legitimate from illegal stations, 
or help with the identification of malfunctioning or interfering 
stations. Other commenters feel that a new system of call signs for 
LPFM would be confusing to the public, with little or no compensating 
public benefit, and suggest that ordinary FM call signs be issued to 
new LPFM stations. Some commenters also argue that the use of call 
signs for low power broadcasters would not be burdensome to these 
broadcasters.

    151. Decision. The question raised by the NPRM was not whether to 
have call signs for LPFM stations, as apparently misunderstood by some 
commenters, but whether to include a special designation in the call 
signs identifying LPFM stations as low power stations. It is imperative 
for a variety of reasons, including enforcement, convenience to the 
public, and conformance with international agreements, that all 
broadcasters, including low power broadcasters, use unique identifiers 
on the air. We also conclude that it will be extremely beneficial for 
LPFM operators to build an "identity" and do so in a radio-familiar 
manner. We were guided on this issue by our experience with low power 
television. In that service, we require stations' call signs to 
indicate that they are low power stations, by appending the suffix "-
LP" to their four-letter call signs. We thus will require low power 
stations to positively identify themselves. To avoid confusion for the 
public and to inform the public of the reasonable expectations they may 
have for service, the suffix "-LP" will be appended to LPFM station 
call signs (e.g., "WXYZ-LP"). Such identification will inform the 
public that a station is a low power station. An LPFM four-letter call 
sign cannot exactly duplicate the call sign of any other broadcast 
station and cannot contain the same first four letters as another 
station's call sign without that station's written consent. The 
Commission's current call sign system will be modified to accommodate 
low power stations in the manner four letter call signs are provided to 
low power TV stations.

5. Operating Hours

    152. Background. In the NPRM, we said we were not inclined to adopt 
minimum operating hours for LP100 or LP10 stations. However, we 
expressed our concern that spectrum might be underutilized if low power 
stations were licensed but unused or underused, and asked for comments 
on this issue.

    153. Comments. For LP100 and LP10 services, commenters either argue 
for: (1) low or no minimum operating hours, because of the cost burden 
involved in requiring extended hours of operations, or (2) a time 
sharing arrangement among local broadcasters. This latter group of 
commenters argue that time sharing arrangements would reduce the part-
time warehousing of spectrum that would occur by a single non full-time 
licensee, and would permit the entry of additional new voices into the 
local radio market.

    154. Decision. In order to ensure an effective utilization of 
channels, we will impose the same minimum operating hour requirements 
on LP100 and LP10 FM stations that we currently apply to full-power 
noncommercial educational FM stations. Under our rules, "[a]ll 
noncommercial educational FM stations are required to operate at least 
36 hours per week, consisting of at least 5 hours of operation per day 
on at least 6 days of the week; however, stations licensed to 
educational institutions are not required to operate on Saturday or 
Sunday * * *" These requirements are not extensive and should not 
impose an inordinate burden on LPFM licensees. In cases where 
individual parties are interested in applying for LP100 and LP10 
stations but do not have sufficient programming to meet the minimum 
operating hour requirements, we encourage those parties to find other

[[Page 7636]]

applicants with whom they could share the license. To accommodate those 
situations in which the demand for airtime does not exceed the spectrum 
availability, however, we will not automatically delete a station that 
is operating at less than the minimum hours. When another applicant 
comes forward that wants to utilize the underused channel, that 
applicant can notify the Commission of the incumbent's failure to meet 
minimum hours and demand that the incumbent return its license or agree 
to a time-sharing arrangement that will accommodate both parties.

6. Main Studio Rule, Public File Rule and Ownership Reporting 
Requirements

    155. Background. In the NPRM, we invited comment on whether LPFM 
stations of each class should be subject to the variety of other rules 
in part 73 with which full power stations must comply, including, for 
example, the main studio rule (47 CFR 73.1125(a)), public file rule (47 
CFR 73.3526 and 73.3527), and the periodic ownership reporting 
requirements (47 CFR 73.3615). Given the purposes and power levels of 
LP1000 stations, we tentatively concluded that LP1000 licensees should 
generally meet the part 73 rules applicable to full power FM stations. 
However, the NPRM sought comment on whether sufficient useful purpose 
would be served in applying each rule to these licensees. We were 
disinclined to apply these service rules to LP10 stations, and sought 
comment with regard to the rules appropriate for LP100 stations.

    156. We also proposed to treat low power radio stations like full 
power stations for the purposes of our environmental rules and 
responsibilities under the National Environmental Protection Act. With 
respect to protection against exposure to radio frequency radiation, we 
noted that LP1000 and LP100 stations would operate at the power levels 
of some Class A FM stations and thus the same safety and environmental 
concerns would seem to apply. We therefore proposed to apply to these 
stations the maximum permissible exposure limits and related regulatory 
provisions that apply to FM radio stations. We invited comment on this 
matter, and specifically on whether and how we should treat LP100 
stations differently from LP1000 stations and, if so, why. We also 
sought comment on how our environmental rules should apply to LP10 
stations, if this low power radio class were adopted.

    157. Comments. Comments were divided on this issue. Most 
broadcasters who commented on this issue agree that LPFM stations 
should generally follow existing regulations for full-power stations, 
but some note that they should only have minimal day-to-day regulatory 
requirements because of the difficulty of survival if such stations had 
to follow the exact rules that full-power stations are required to 
follow. Many other commenters state that the Commission should not 
require LPFM stations to comply with a main studio, public file or 
ownership reporting requirement, because of the burdens they would 
impose.

    158. Decision. We conclude that we should not impose the main 
studio, public file, or ownership reporting requirements on LPFM 
stations. We believe these requirements would place an undue burden on 
such small noncommercial educational stations. In addition, we believe 
that the nature of this service will ensure that LPFM stations are 
responsive to their communities. This approach is consistent with our 
treatment of low power television stations.

    159. As to equal employment opportunity (EEO) rules, we conclude 
that all LPFM licensees must comply with the Commission's long-standing 
prohibition against employment discrimination. We believe that a 
finding that any broadcaster has engaged in employment discrimination 
raises a serious question as to its character qualifications to be a 
Commission licensee. In addition to the prohibition against 
discrimination, the broadcast EEO Rule also includes EEO program 
requirements. These requirements are not currently in force. In any 
event, we did not enforce compliance with the EEO program requirements 
by broadcast stations with fewer than five full-time employees. Because 
we anticipate that the vast majority of this class of licensees will 
employ very few (if any) full-time, paid employees, we do not intend to 
require LPFM licensees to comply with any EEO program requirements we 
adopt in our pending rulemaking proceeding.

7. Construction Permits

    160. Background. In the NPRM, the Commission proposed an 18-month 
construction period for LP100 stations and a twelve-month limit for 
LP10 stations. The shorter construction time limits for LP100 and LP10 
stations (relative to the three-year construction period that is 
allowed to full-power FM stations) were meant to reflect the simpler 
construction requirements for these facilities. The 18- and 12-month 
periods also assumed that difficulties with obtaining the requisite 
construction permits would be minimal.

    161. Comments. Many commenters state that the proposed construction 
periods for LP100 and LP10 stations are reasonable, given the 
relatively smaller facilities and simpler construction involved with 
these stations. Other commenters argue for even shorter construction 
periods for LP100 and micro-radio services. Some commenters thought 
that imposing strict construction time limits would help to prevent 
spectrum hoarding and help encourage the rapid deployment of the 
spectrum resources.

    162. Decision. We will adopt an 18-month construction period for 
both LP10 and LP100 services, and it will be strictly enforced. While 
we believe that most permittees will be able to and will have ample 
incentive to construct their low power stations in far less than 18 
months, given the relative technical simplicity of LP100 and LP10 
stations, we do not wish to burden applicants who may encounter 
unforeseen difficulties with a shorter construction period. We 
recognize that while the facilities themselves will be relatively easy 
to construct, zoning and permitting processes may, in some cases, delay 
construction. However, we expect that applicants will have well-
considered proposals in this regard and we do not intend to grant 
extensions to the construction permits. Therefore, to avoid the 
complications and delays of extension rulings, as well as to encourage 
well-planned and executed proposals, we have allowed what we consider 
to be more than ample time for permittees to complete construction and 
begin operation, and we expect to see many stations in operation long 
before the allowed 18 months.

8. Emergency Alert System

    163. Background. In the NPRM, we proposed to treat LP1000 
facilities like full-power FM stations for the purposes of the 
Emergency Alert System (EAS). We explained that, in this way, we would 
expect to avoid having significant numbers of people deprived of this 
critical information resource. By contrast, because of their extremely 
small coverage areas and correspondingly sized audiences, as well as 
their limited resources, we proposed that LP10 stations, if authorized, 
not be required to participate in the EAS. We sought comment on these 
proposals and also on how LP100 stations, with their intermediate size 
and audience reach, should fit into the EAS structure.

    164. Comments. Some commenters argue that compliance should not be

[[Page 7637]]

required for LP100 or LP10 stations because small operations and 
coverage areas make compliance unnecessary and too expensive; stations 
other than LP100 and LP10 stations can take on the role of alerting the 
community to emergencies; the short range and secondary status of LP100 
stations make them unsuitable for emergency message propagation; and 
removing LP100 stations from the air during national emergencies would 
help prevent interference during such crisis times. Other commenters 
suggest that EAS be required only under certain circumstances. A few 
commenters provide suggestions on how to overcome the expense involved 
in EAS participation. Other commenters stress the importance of 
participation in EAS by all broadcast stations.

    165. Decision. We conclude that LPFM stations should be required to 
participate in the EAS structure, but in a modified way. Our 
requirements will balance the cost of compliance, the ability of 
stations to meet that cost, and the needs of the listening public to be 
alerted in emergency situations. LPFM licensees will be able to satisfy 
our EAS requirements if they install and operate Commission-certified 
decoding equipment, which will alert station personnel to emergency 
alerts. Once that decoding equipment is installed, station personnel 
must pass any national emergency audio message on to listeners as 
prescribed in our rules. As is the case for full service broadcasters, 
LPFM participation at the state and local levels will be on a voluntary 
basis.

    166. The EAS is composed of several entities, including FM 
broadcast stations, LPTV stations, and cable systems operating on an 
organized basis at the national, state, and local levels. The EAS alert 
is designed to make viewers and listeners aware of emergencies that may 
affect them so that they may take appropriate protective action or seek 
additional information. Though the arguments of financial hardship for 
LPFM licensees to implement the EAS are well taken, alert messages are 
potentially important to all listeners and viewers, and commenters do 
not persuade us that the LPFM stations should, as a class, be exempted 
from this important public safety function. We will, however, minimize 
the cost of effective participation for LPFM licensees. Accordingly, we 
amend Sec. 11.11(a) to include LPFM stations in the list of the EAS 
entities. We also amend the Broadcast Station Timetable of 
Sec. 11.11(a) to set out the requirements for LPFM.

    167. While we will require EAS participation, we will exempt LPFM 
stations from purchasing some of the EAS equipment required for other 
participants under our rules. In general, EAS equipment must be able to 
perform the functions described in all of our rules regulating EAS. 
However, we relaxed some of these requirements for Class D 
noncommercial educational FM and LPTV stations. Because LPFM stations 
will also provide service to small audiences, we exempt LPFM stations 
from the requirement to install and operate encoders. We believe that 
the cost to LPFM licensees of installing and operating both encoding 
and decoding equipment outweighs the benefits that these small stations 
could provide to the public.

    168. While we are not requiring LPFM stations to install encoding 
equipment, all LPFM stations are required to use decoding equipment 
that notifies the station in case of any emergency. We recognize that 
there will be costs associated with EAS decoders, but believe the costs 
are justified. Current Commission-certified integrated encoder/decoder 
equipment costs $1,500 or more depending on the options a station wants 
to install. We note that today's manufacturers only produce certified 
encoders and decoders as integrated units, as that is the only demand 
that exists. Noncertified decoding equipment, however, is currently 
available and is advertised in some places for as little as $650. Thus, 
it appears that Commission-certified decoding equipment should be 
available for well under $1000 and should be able to reach the market 
in the near future. Accordingly, we will require the use of Commission-
certified EAS decoders or decoder/encoders by all LPFM stations when 
they commence operations. It will be several months before the first 
LPFM stations are on the air. Given that decoders are already on the 
market, this should be ample time to obtain Commission certification 
and make certified units available for purchase. If certified decoder 
equipment is not available at that time, we can grant a temporary 
exemption for LPFM stations until such time as it is reasonably 
available. Once the licensee has installed decoding equipment, if the 
station is on the air at the time it receives a national emergency 
alert message, station personnel must pass the information along to 
listeners.

    169. Finally, we will continue to grant waivers of EAS requirements 
to broadcasters, including LPFM licensees, on a case-by-case basis in 
appropriate circumstances upon a sufficient showing of need. As we 
outlined in the EAS First Report and Order, the waiver request must 
contain at least the following: (1) Justification for waiver, with 
reference to the particular rule sections for which a waiver is sought; 
(2) information about the financial status of the entity, such as a 
balance sheet and income statement for up to the previous two years 
(audited, if possible); (3) the number of other entities that serve the 
requesting entity's coverage area and that have or are expected to 
install EAS equipment; and (4) the likelihood (such as proximity or 
frequency) of hazardous risks to the requesting entity's audience.

III. Conclusion

    170. In this final rule, we set the stage for a new dimension in 
radio broadcasting, creating additional, affordable outlets for the 
expression of views and the provision of information and entertainment 
to local communities. By limiting participants in this service to 
noncommercial, educational organizations, we hope to ensure that this 
service will meet needs unmet by the commercial radio service. Through 
eligibility requirements, selection preference factors, and the 
relatively small range of LPFM stations, we hope to create a service 
that will serve the distinct needs of small local communities. Mindful 
of the need to protect the technical integrity of the existing radio 
service and to preserve its potential transition to digital service, 
however, we are proceeding cautiously. Accordingly, we are limiting 
radio stations in the LPFM service to a maximum of 100 watts. We are 
also maintaining 2nd-adjacent channel protection. Based on our 
engineers' careful review of the technical data submitted to the 
Commission, as well as their own studies, we are confident that any 
risk of interference is small and, on balance, outweighed by the 
benefits this new service will bring.

IV. Administrative Matters

    171. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis. This Report and Order has 
been analyzed with respect to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, and 
found to impose new or modified reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements or burdens on the public. Implementation of these new or 
modified reporting and recordkeeping requirements will be subject to 
approval by the Office of Management and Budget as prescribed by the 
Act.

V. Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    172. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), an 
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) was incorporated in the 
Notice of

[[Page 7638]]

Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). The Commission sought written public 
comment on the proposals in the NPRM, including comment on the IRFA. No 
comments were received in response to the IRFA. This present Final 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) conforms to the RFA.

Need for and Objectives of the Report and Order

    173. The Commission received petitions for rulemaking asking for 
the creation of a low power radio service. Because they raised similar 
or identical issues, the Commission coordinated its responses to them. 
The Commission released public notices of its receipt of three of the 
proposals and invited public comment on them. In response to 
significant public support, the Commission released the NPRM to propose 
a new, low power FM service.

    174. In the Report and Order, the Commission is adopting a 100-watt 
class (LP100) and a 10-watt class (LP10). Because of the predicted 
lower construction and operational costs of LPFM stations as opposed to 
full power facilities, we expect that small entities would be expected 
to have few economic obstacles to becoming LPFM licensees. Therefore, 
this new service may serve as a vehicle for small entities and under-
represented groups (including women and minorities) to gain valuable 
broadcast experience and to add their voices to their local 
communities.

Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response 
to the IRFA

    175. No comments were received in response to the IRFA.

Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which Rules 
Will Apply

    176. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of and, 
where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that will 
be affected by the rules. The RFA generally defines the term "small 
entity" as having the same meaning as the terms "small business," 
"small organization," and "small governmental jurisdiction." In 
addition, the term "small business" has the same meaning as the term 
"small business concern" under the Small Business Act. A small 
business concern is one which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; 
(2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any 
additional criteria established by the Small Business Administration 
(SBA). A small organization is generally "any not-for-profit 
enterprise which is independently owned and operated and is not 
dominant in its field." Nationwide, as of 1992, there were 
approximately 275,801 small organizations. "Small governmental 
jurisdiction" generally means "governments of cities, counties, 
towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, 
with a population of less than 50,000." The Census Bureau estimates 
that this ratio is approximately accurate for all governmental 
entities. Thus, of the 85,006 governmental entities, we estimate that 
81,600 (91 per cent) are small entities.

    177. The Small Business Administration defines a radio broadcasting 
station that has $5 million or less in annual receipts as a small 
business. A radio broadcasting station is an establishment primarily 
engaged in broadcasting aural programs by radio to the public. Included 
in this industry are commercial, religious, educational, and other 
radio stations. The 1992 Census indicates that 96 percent (5,861 of 
6,127) radio station establishments produced less than $5 million in 
revenue in 1992. Official Commission records indicate that 11,334 
individual radio stations were operating in 1992. As of December 31, 
1998, Commission records indicate that 12,615 radio stations were 
operating, of which 7,832 were FM stations.

    178. The rules will apply to a new category of FM radio 
broadcasting service. It is not known how many entities that may seek 
to obtain a low power radio license. Nor do we know how many of these 
entities will be small entities. We note, however, that in the year 
since we issued the NPRM, the Commission's LPFM website has received 
approximately 100,000 hits, demonstrating the interest of individuals 
and groups in operating such a facility. In addition, we expect that, 
due to the small size of low power FM stations, small entities would 
generally have a greater interest than large ones in acquiring them.

Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance 
Requirements

    179. The Commission is creating a new broadcasting service that may 
allow hundreds or thousands of small entities to become broadcast 
licensees for the first time. This endeavor will require the collection 
of information for the purposes of processing applications for (among 
other things) initial construction permits, assignments and transfers, 
and renewals. We will also require lower power radio stations to comply 
with some of the reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance 
requirements as full power radio broadcasters.

Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, 
and Significant Alternatives Considered

    180. The RFA requires agencies to describe any significant 
alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, 
which may include the following four alternatives: (1) The 
establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or 
timetables that take into account the resources available to small 
entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of 
compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; 
(3) the use of performance rather than design standards; and (4) an 
exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small 
entities.

    181. The LP100 and LP10 services are likely to create significant 
opportunities for new small businesses. In addition, the Commission has 
taken steps to minimize the impact on existing small broadcasters.

    182. Creating New Opportunities for Small Businesses. The Report 
and Order adopts a number of rules designed to help small businesses 
obtain and retain LP100 and LP10 licenses. These include ownership 
rules, and exemptions from mandatory electronic filing and main studio 
requirements.

    183. The Report and Order adopts ownership rules to assist small 
entities acquire or construct LPFM stations. Parties with attributable 
interests in any full power broadcast facilities are not eligible to 
have any ownership interest in any low power radio stations; this 
prevents large group owners (or even large single-station owners) from 
constructing and operating LPFM facilities that might otherwise be 
available to small entities. The local and national ownership 
restrictions of one station per community and, initially, one station, 
and ultimately, 10 stations, nationwide are intended to ensure that 
ample LPFM stations are available for small entities. However, the 
ownership rules also prohibit small entity full power broadcasters from 
acquiring LPFM licenses.

    184. The Report and Order also modifies the application of some of 
our programming and service requirements for LPFM stations. Full power 
and LPFM stations alike are required to maintain a public file that 
includes their authorizations, issues and programming lists, and 
political files. However, unlike full power stations which must create 
quarterly issues and programming lists and maintain a main studio with 
a staff

[[Page 7639]]

presence, LPFM stations must generate only annual issues and 
programming lists, and need not maintain a main studio, and so may 
operate out of even a private residence. In addition, while full power 
and LPFM stations both must participate in the Emergency Alert System 
(EAS) and have decoding equipment, LPFM stations need not purchase 
encoding equipment. These exemptions from and modifications of the 
application of the Commission's programming and service requirements to 
LPFM stations will reduce administrative burdens and costs for small 
business licensees.

    185. The Report and Order also adopts filing requirements that 
should help small businesses. Although the NPRM proposed to mandate 
electronic filing for LPFM stations, the Report and Order declined to 
do so for the first round of LP100 applications. The Commission made 
this decision because it recognized that there might be a disparity 
between applicants for LP100 licenses in terms of computer resources 
and skills. This result should help small businesses without more 
advanced technological resources still participation in the LP100 
application process. The Report and Order adopts a window filing 
process, as opposed to a first-come, first-served process; some 
commenters claimed that the latter process would favor applicants with 
superior financial and technical resources.

    186. Minimizing Impact on Existing Small Business Broadcast 
Stations. The Report and Order has also adopted an alternative that 
will minimize the impact on existing small business broadcast stations. 
LP100 and LP10 stations will be noncommercial, educational stations, 
and so will not compete with small business commercial broadcasters for 
advertising revenue.

Report to Congress

    187. The Commission will send a copy of the Report and Order, 
including this FRFA, in a report to be sent to Congress pursuant to the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, see 5 
U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A). In addition, the Commission will send a copy of 
the Report and Order, including the FRFA, to the Chief Counsel for 
Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. A copy of the Report and 
Order and FRFA (or summaries thereof) will also be published in the 
Federal Register. See 5 U.S.C. 604(b).

VI. Ordering Clauses

    188. Accordingly, pursuant to authority contained in sections 1, 
4(i), 303 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 
154(i), 303, part 73 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR part 73, is 
amended.

    189. The amendments shall be effective April 17, 2000.

    190. The Commission's Consumer Information Bureau, Reference 
Information Center, shall send a copy of this Report and Order, 
including the Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis, to the Chief 
Counsel for the Small Business Administration.

    191. This proceeding is terminated.

List of Subjects

47 CFR Part 11

    Emergency alert system.

47 CFR Part 73 and Part 74

    Radio broadcasting.

Federal Communications Commission.
Magalie Roman Salas,
Secretary.

Rule Changes

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble parts 11, 73 and 74 of 
Title 47 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations is amended to read as 
follows:

PART 11--EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM (EAS)

    1. The authority citation for part 11 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i) and (o), 303(r), 544(g) and 
606.

    2. Section 11.11 is amended by:
    (1) Adding in paragraph (a) the words "Low Power FM (LPFM)" in 
the first sentence after the word "FM".
    (2) Revising the table "Timetable Broadcast Stations".
    (3) Revising the first sentence of paragraph (b).
    3. The amendments are to read as follows:

Sec. 11.11  The Emergency Alert System (EAS).

* * * * *

                    Timetable--Broadcast Stations
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Requirement           AM&FM        TV        FM Class D     LPTV        LPFM 1
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Two-tone encoder 2 3..   Y          Y              N           N           N
Two-tone decoder 4 5..   Y          Y              Y           Y           N
EAS decoder...........  Y 1/1/97    Y 1/1/97      Y 1/1/97     Y 1/197     Y
EAS encoder...........  Y 1/1/97    Y 1/1/97      N            N           N
Audio message.........  Y 1/1/97    Y 1/1/97      Y 1/1/97     Y 1/1/97    Y
Video message.........  NA          Y 1/1/97      N/A          Y 1/1/97    N/A
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 LPTV stations that operate as television broadcast translator
  stations are exempt from the requirement to have EAS equipment.
2 Effective July 1, 1995, the two-tone signal must be 8-25
  seconds.
3 Effective January 1, 1998, the two-tone signal may only be
  used to provide audio alerts to audiences before EAS emergency
  messages and the required monthly tests.
4 Effective July 1, 1995, the two-tone decoder must respond to
  two-tone signals of 3-4 seconds duration.
5 Effective January 1, 1998, the two-tone decoder will no
  longer be used.

* * * * *
    (b) Class D noncommercial educational FM stations as defined in 
Sec. 73.506, LPFM stations as defined in Secs. 73.811 and 73.853, and 
LPTV stations as defined in Sec. 74.701(f) are not required to comply 
with Sec. 11.32. * * *
* * * * *

    4. Section 11.51 (e) is revised to read as follows:

Sec. 11.51  EAS code and Attention Signal Transmission requirements.

* * * * *
    (e) Class D non-commercial educational FM stations as defined in 
Sec. 73.506 of this chapter, Low Power FM (LPFM) stations as defined in 
Secs. 73.811 and 73.853 of this chapter, and low power TV (LPTV) 
stations as defined in Sec. 74.701(f) of this chapter are not required 
to have equipment capable of generating the EAS codes and Attention 
Signal specified in Sec. 11.31.
* * * * *

    5. Section 11.53(a)(3) is revised to read as follows:

[[Page 7640]]

Sec. 11.53  Dissemination of Emergency Action Notification.

    (a) * * *
    (3) Wire services to all subscribers (AM, FM, low power FM (LPFM), 
TV, LPTV and other stations).
* * * * *
    6. Section 11.61 is amended by revising the last sentence of 
paragraph (a)(1)(v) and revising paragraph (a)(2)(iii) to read as 
follows:

Sec. 11.61  Tests of EAS procedures.

    (a) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (v) * * * Class D non-commercial educational FM, LPFM and LPTV 
stations are required to transmit only the test script.
    (2) * * *
    (iii) Class D non-commercial educational FM, LPFM and LPTV stations 
are not required to transmit this test but must log receipt.
* * * * *

PART 73--RADIO BROADCAST SERVICES

    1. The authority citation for part 73 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  (47 U.S.C. 154, 303, 334, 336.)

    2. Section 73.209 is amended by adding paragraph (c) to read, as 
follows:

Sec. 73.209  Protection from interference.

* * * * *
    (c) Permittees and licensees of FM stations are not protected from 
interference which may be created by the grant of a new LPFM station or 
of authority to modify an existing LPFM station, except in instances 
where the FM station would receive predicted interference from an LPFM 
station within the FM station's 3.16 mV/m (70 dBu) contour.

    3. Section 73.508 is revised to read as follows:

Sec. 73.508  Standards of good engineering practice.

    (a) All noncommercial educational stations and LPFM stations 
operating with more than 10 watts transmitter power output shall be 
subject to all of the provisions of the FM Technical Standards 
contained in subpart B of this part. Class D educational stations and 
LPFM stations operating with 10 watts or less transmitter output power 
shall be subject to the definitions contained in Sec. 73.310, and also 
to those other provisions of the FM Technical Standards which are 
specifically made applicable to them by the provisions of this subpart.
    (b) The transmitter and associated transmitting equipment of each 
noncommercial educational FM station and LPFM station licensed for 
transmitter power output above 10 watts must be designed, constructed 
and operated in accordance with Sec. 73.317.
    (c) The transmitter and associated transmitting equipment of each 
noncommercial educational FM station licensed for transmitter power 
output of 10 watts or less, although not required to meet all 
requirements of Sec. 73.317, must be constructed with the safety 
provisions of the current national electrical code as approved by the 
American National Standards Institute. These stations must be operated, 
tuned, and adjusted so that emissions are not radiated outside the 
authorized band causing or which are capable of causing interference to 
the communications of other stations. The audio distortion, audio 
frequency range, carrier hum, noise level, and other essential phases 
of the operation which control the external effects, must be at all 
times capable of providing satisfactory broadcast service. Studio 
equipment properly covered by an underwriter's certificate will be 
considered as satisfying safety requirements.

    4. Section 73.514 is added to read as follows:

Sec. 73.514  Protection from interference.

    Permittees and licensees of NCE FM stations are not protected from 
interference which may be created by the grant of a new LPFM station or 
of authority to modify an existing LPFM station, except in instances 
where the NCE FM station would receive interference from an LPFM 
station within the 3.16 mV/m (70 dBu) contour.

    5. Subpart G of part 73 is revised to read as follows:

Subpart G--Low Power FM Broadcast Stations (LPFM)

Sec.
73.801   Broadcast regulations applicable to LPFM stations.
73.805   Availability of channels.
73.807   Minimum distance separation between stations.
73.808   Distance computations.
73.809   Interference protection to full service FM stations.
73.811   LPFM power and antenna height requirements.
73.812   Rounding of power and antenna heights.
73.813   Determination of antenna height above average terrain 
(HAAT).
73.816   Antennas.
73.825   Protection to Reception of TV Channel 6.
73.840   Operating power and mode tolerances.
73.845   Transmission system operation.
73.850   Operating schedule.
73.853   Licensing requirements and service.
73.854   Unlicensed operations.
73.855   Ownership limits.
73.858   Attribution of LPFM station interests.
73.860   Cross-ownership.
73.865   Assignment and transfer of LPFM authorizations.
73.870   Processing of LPFM broadcast station applications.
73.872   Selection procedure for mutually exclusive LPFM 
applications.
73.873   LPFM license period.
73.875   Modification of transmission systems.
73.877   Station logs for LPFM stations.
73.878   Station inspections by FCC; availability to FCC of station 
logs and records.
73.879   Signal retransmission.
73.881   Equal employment opportunities.

Sec. 73.801  Broadcast regulations applicable to LPFM stations.

    The following rules are applicable to LPFM stations:

Section 73.201  Numerical definition of FM broadcast channels.
Section 73.220  Restrictions on use of channels.
Section 73.267  Determining operating power.
Section 73.277  Permissible transmissions.
Section 73.297  FM stereophonic sound broadcasting.
Section 73.310  FM technical definitions.
Section 73.312  Topographic data.
Section 73.318  FM blanketing interference.
Section 73.322  FM stereophonic sound transmission standards.
Section 73.333  Engineering charts.
Section 73.503  Licensing requirements and service.
Section 73.508  Standards of good engineering practice.
Section 73.593  Subsidiary communications services.
Section 73.1015  Truthful written statements and responses to 
Commission inquiries and correspondence.
Section 73.1030  Notifications concerning interference to radio 
astronomy, research and receiving installations.
Section 73.1201  Station identification.
Section 73.1206  Broadcast of telephone conversations.
Section 73.1207  Rebroadcasts.
Section 73.1208  Broadcast of taped, filmed, or recorded material.
Section 73.1210  TV/FM dual-language broadcasting in Puerto Rico.
Section 73.1211  Broadcast of lottery information.
Section 73.1212  Sponsorship identification; list retention; related 
requirements.
Section 73.1213  Antenna structure, marking and lighting.
Section 73.1216  Licensee-conducted contests.
Section 73.1217  Broadcast hoaxes.
Section 73.1230  Posting of station license.
Section 73.1250  Broadcasting emergency information.
Section 73.1300  Unattended station operation.

[[Page 7641]]

Section 73.1400  Transmission system monitoring and control.
Section 73.1520  Operation for tests and maintenance.
Section 73.1540  Carrier frequency measurements.
Section 73.1545  Carrier frequency departure tolerances.
Section 73.1570  Modulation levels: AM, FM, and TV aural.
Section 73.1580  Transmission system inspections.
Section 73.1610  Equipment tests.
Section 73.1620  Program tests.
Section 73.1650  International agreements.
Section 73.1660  Acceptability of broadcast transmitters.
Section 73.1665  Main transmitters.
Section 73.1692  Broadcast station construction near or installation 
on an AM broadcast tower.
Section 73.1745  Unauthorized operation.
Section 73.1750  Discontinuance of operation.
Section 73.1920  Personal attacks.
Section 73.1940  Legally qualified candidates for public office.
Section 73.1941  Equal opportunities.
Section 73.1943  Political file.
Section 73.1944  Reasonable access.
Section 73.3511  Applications required.
Section 73.3512  Where to file; number of copies.
Section 73.3513  Signing of applications.
Section 73.3514  Content of applications.
Section 73.3516  Specification of facilities.
Section 73.3517  Contingent applications.
Section 73.3518  Inconsistent or conflicting applications.
Section 73.3519  Repetitious applications.
Section 73.3520  Multiple applications.
Section 73.3525  Agreements for removing application conflicts.
Section 73.3539  Application for renewal of license.
Section 73.3542  Application for emergency authorization.
Section 73.3545  Application for permit to deliver programs to 
foreign stations.
Section 73.3550  Requests for new or modified call sign assignments.
Section 73.3561  Staff consideration of applications requiring 
Commission consideration.
Section 73.3562  Staff consideration of applications not requiring 
action by the Commission.
Section 73.3566  Defective applications.
Section 73.3568  Dismissal of applications.
Section 73.3584  Procedure for filing petitions to deny.
Section 73.3587  Procedure for filing informal objections.
Section 73.3588  Dismissal of petitions to deny or withdrawal of 
informal objections.
Section 73.3589  Threats to file petitions to deny or informal 
objections.
Section 73.3591  Grants without hearing.
Section 73.3593  Designation for hearing.
Section 73.3598  Period of construction.
Section 73.3599  Forfeiture of construction permit.
Section 73.3999  Enforcement of 18 U.S.C. 1464--restrictions on the 
transmission of obscene and indecent material.

Sec. 73.805  Availability of channels.

    Except as provided in Sec. 73.220 of this chapter, all of the 
frequencies listed in Sec. 73.201 of this chapter are available for 
LPFM stations.

Sec. 73.807  Minimum distance separation between stations.

    Minimum separation requirements for LP100 and LP10 stations, as 
defined in Sec. 73.811 and Sec. 73.853 of this part, are listed in the 
following paragraphs. An LPFM station will not be authorized unless 
these separations are met. Minimum distances for co-channel and first-
adjacent channel are separated into two columns. The left-hand column 
lists the required minimum separation to protect other stations and the 
right-hand column lists (for informational purposes only) the minimum 
distance necessary for the LPFM station to receive no interference from 
other stations. For second-adjacent channels and IF channels, the 
required minimum distance separation is sufficient to avoid 
interference received from other stations.
    (a) An LP100 station will not be authorized initially unless the 
minimum distance separations in the following table are met with 
respect to authorized FM stations, timely filed applications for new 
and existing FM stations, authorized LP100 stations, LP100 station 
applications that were timely-filed within a previous window, and 
vacant FM allotments. LP100 stations are not required to protect LP10 
stations.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Co-channel          First-adjacent      Second-adjacent     I.F.
                          minimum         channel minumum      channel minumum     Channel
                        separation          separation            separation       minimum
                           (km)                (km)                 (km)         separations 
 Station class      -------------------------------------------
 protected by LP100             For no               For no
                    Required interference Required interference    Required    10.6 or 10.8 MHz
                               received              received
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LP100............       24        24         14        14             (1)            (1)
D................       24        24         13        13              6              4
A................       67        92         56        56             29              7
B1...............       87       119         74        74             46              9
B................      112       143         97        97             67             12
C3...............       78       119         67        67             40              9
C2...............       91       143         80        84             53             12
C1...............      111       178        100       111             73             20
C................      130       203        120       142             93             28
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 None.

    (b) An LP10 station will not be authorized unless the minimum 
distance separations are met with respect to authorized FM stations, 
timely-filed applications for new and existing FM stations, vacant FM 
allotments, or LPFM stations.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Co-channel          First-adjacent      Second-adjacent     I.F.
                          minimum         channel minumum      channel minumum     Channel
                        separation          separation            separation       minimum
                           (km)                (km)                 (km)         separations 
 Station class      -------------------------------------------
 protected by LP10              For no               For no
                    Required interference Required interference    Required    10.6 or 10.8 MHz
                               received              received
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LP10.............       16        22         10        11             (1)            (1)
LP10.............       13        13          8         8             (1)            (1)
D................       16        21         10        11              6              2
A................       59        90         53        53             29              5
B1...............       77       117         70        70             45              8
B................       99       141         91        91             66             11
C3...............       69       117         64        64             39              8

[[Page 7642]]

C2...............       82       141         77        81             52             11
C1...............      103       175         97       108             73             18
C................      122       201        116       140             92             26
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 None.

    (c) In addition to meeting or exceeding the minimum separations for 
Class LP100 and Class LP10 stations in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this 
section, new LP100 and LP10 stations will not be authorized in Puerto 
Rico or the Virgin Islands unless the minimum distance separations are 
met with respect to authorized or proposed FM stations:

    (1) LP100 Stations in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Co-channel          First-adjacent      Second-adjacent     I.F.
                          minimum         channel minumum      channel minumum     Channel
                        separation          separation            separation       minimum
                           (km)                (km)                 (km)         separations 
 Station class      -------------------------------------------
 protected by LP100             For no               For no
                    Required interference Required interference    Required    10.6 or 10.8 MHz
                               received              received
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A................       80       111         70        70             42              9
B1...............       95       128         82        82             53             11
B................      138       179        123       123             92             20
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (2) LP10 Stations in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Co-channel          First-adjacent      Second-adjacent     I.F.
                          minimum         channel minumum      channel minumum     Channel
                        separation          separation            separation       minimum
                           (km)                (km)                 (km)         separations 
 Station class      -------------------------------------------
 protected by LP10              For no               For no
                    Required interference Required interference    Required    10.6 or 10.8 MHz
                               received              received
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A................       72       108         66        66             42              8
B1...............       84       125         78        78             53              9
B................      126       177        118       118             92             18
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Note to paragraphs (a), (b), and (c): Minimum distance 
separations towards "grandfathered" superpowered Reserved Band 
stations, are as specified. Full service FM stations operating 
within the reserved band (Channels 201-220) with facilities in 
excess of those permitted in Sec. 73.211(b)(1) or Sec. 73.211(b)(3) 
shall be protected by LPFM stations in accordance with the minimum 
distance separations for the nearest class as determined under 
Sec. 73.211. For example, a Class B1 station operating with 
facilities that result in a 60 dBu contour that exceeds 39 
kilometers but is less than 52 kilometers would be protected by the 
Class B minimum distance separations. Class D stations with 60 dBu 
contours that exceed 5 kilometers will be protected by the Class A 
minimum distance separations. Class B stations with 60 dBu contours 
that exceed 52 kilometers will be protected as Class C1 or Class C 
stations depending upon the distance to the 60 dBu contour. No 
stations will be protected beyond Class C separations.

    (d) In addition to meeting the separations (a) through (c), LPFM 
applications must meet the minimum separation requirements with respect 
to authorized FM translator stations, cutoff FM translator 
applications, and FM translator applications filed prior to the release 
of the Public Notice announcing the LPFM window period:

    (1) LP100 stations:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Co-channel          First-adjacent      Second-adjacent     I.F.
                          minimum         channel minumum      channel minumum     Channel
                        separation          separation            separation       minimum
                           (km)                (km)                 (km)         separation
 Distance to                                                                         (km)
 FM translator    -------------------------------------------
 60 dBu contour                For no               For no
                    Required interference Required interference    Required    10.6 or 10.8 MHz
                               received              received
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
13.3 km or greater.... 39        67          28         35            21             5
Greater than 7.3 km,
but less than 13.3 km. 32        51          21         26            14             5
7.3 km or less........ 26        30          15         16             8             5
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (2) LP10 Stations:

[[Page 7643]]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Co-channel          First-adjacent      Second-adjacent     I.F.
                          minimum         channel minumum      channel minumum     Channel
                        separation          separation            separation       minimum
                           (km)                (km)                 (km)         separation
 Distance to                                                                         (km)
 FM translator    -------------------------------------------
 60 dBu contour                For no               For no
                    Required interference Required interference    Required    10.6 or 10.8 MHz
                               received              received
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
13.3 km or greater.... 30        65          25         33            20             3
Greater than 7.3 km,
but less than 13.3 km. 24        49          18         23            14             3
7.3 km or less........ 18        28          12         14             8             3
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (e) Existing Class LP100 and LP10 stations which do not meet the 
separations in paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section may be 
relocated provided that the separation to any short-spaced station is 
not reduced.
    (f) Commercial and noncommercial educational stations authorized 
under subparts B and C of this part, as well as new or modified 
commercial FM allotments, are not required to adhere to the separations 
specified in this rule section, even where new or increased 
interference would be created.
    (g) International considerations within the border zones. (1) 
Within 320 km of the Canadian border, LP100 stations must meet the 
following minimum separations with respect to any Canadian stations:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Canadian                                                                 Intermediate
 station class  Co-channel  First-adjacent  Second-adjacent  Third-adjacent  frequency (IF)
                  (km)       channel (km)     channel (km)    channel (km)    channel (km)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A1......           45            30               21               20              4
A.......           66            50               41               40              7
B1......           78            62               53               52              9
B.......           92            76               68               66             12
C1......          113            98               89               88             19
C.......          118           106               99               98             28
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (2) Within 320 km of the Mexican border, LP100 stations must meet 
the following separations with respect to any Mexican stations:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mexican                                 Second- / third-  Intermediate
 station class  Co-channel  First-adjacent  adjacent channel  frequency (IF)
                   (km)      channel (km)         (km)         channel (km)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A.......            43           32                25               5
AA......            47           36                29               6
B1......            67           54                45               8
B.......            91           76                66              11
C1......            91           80                73              19
C.......           110          100                92              27
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (3) Within 320 km of the Canadian border, LP10 stations must meet 
the following minimum separations with respect to any Canadian 
stations:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Canadian                                                                 Intermediate
 station class  Co-channel  First-adjacent  Second-adjacent  Third-adjacent  frequency (IF)
                  (km)       channel (km)     channel (km)    channel (km)    channel (km)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A1......           33            25               23               19              3
A.......           53            45               43               39              5
B1......           65            57               55               51              8
B.......           79            71               70               66             11
C1......          101            93               91               87             18
C.......          108           102              100               97             26
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (4) Within 320 km of the Mexican border, LP10 stations must meet 
the following separations with respect to any Mexican stations:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mexican                                 Second- / third-  Intermediate
 station class  Co-channel  First-adjacent  adjacent channel  frequency (IF)
                   (km)      channel (km)         (km)         channel (km)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A.......            34           29                24                 5
AA......            39           33                29                 5
B1......            57           50                45                 8
B.......            79           71                66                11
C1......            83           77                73                18
C.......           102           96                92                26
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 7644]]

    (5) The Commission will notify the International Telecommunications 
Union (ITU) of any LPFM authorizations in the US Virgin Islands. Any 
authorization issued for a US Virgin Islands LPFM station will include 
a condition that permits the Commission to modify, suspend or terminate 
without right to a hearing if found by the Commission to be necessary 
to conform to any international regulations or agreements.
    (6) The Commission may, at its option, initiate international 
coordination of a LPFM proposal even where the above Canadian and 
Mexican spacing tables are met, if it appears that such coordination is 
necessary to maintain compliance with international agreements.

Sec. 73.808  Distance computations.

    For the purposes of determining compliance with any LPFM distance 
requirements, distances shall be calculated in accordance with 
Sec. 73.208(c) of this part.

Sec. 73.809  Interference protection to full service FM stations.

    (a) It shall be the responsibility of the licensee of an LPFM 
station to correct at its expense any condition of interference to the 
direct reception of the signal of any subsequently authorized 
commercial or NCE FM station that operates on the same channel, first-
adjacent channel, second-adjacent channel or intermediate frequency 
(IF) channels as the LPFM station, where interference is predicted to 
occur and actually occurs within the 3.16 mV/m (70 dBu) contour of such 
stations. Predicted interference within this contour shall be 
calculated in accordance with the ratios set forth in Sec. 73.215(a)(1) 
and (2) of this part. Actual interference will be considered to occur 
whenever reception of a regularly used signal is impaired by the 
signals radiated by the LPFM station.
    (b) An LPFM station will be provided an opportunity to demonstrate 
in connection with the procession of the commercial or NCE FM 
application that interference with the 3.16 mV/m contour of such 
station is unlikely. If the LPFM station fails to so demonstrate, it 
will be required to cease operations upon the commencement of program 
tests by the commercial or NCE FM station.
    (c) Complaints of actual interference by an LPFM station subject to 
paragraph (b) within the 3.16 mV/m contour of a commercial or NCE FM 
station must be served on the LPFM licensee and the Federal 
Communications Commission, attention Audio Services Division. The LPFM 
station must suspend operations within twenty-four hours of the receipt 
of such complaint unless the interference has been resolved to the 
satisfaction of the complainant on the basis of suitable techniques. An 
LPFM station may only resume operations at the direction of the Federal 
Communications Commission. If the Commission determines that the 
complainant has refused to permit the LPFM station to apply remedial 
techniques that demonstrably will eliminate the interference without 
impairment of the original reception, the licensee of the LPFM station 
is absolved of further responsibility.
    (d) It shall be the responsibility of the licensee of an LPFM 
station to correct any condition of interference that results from the 
radiation of radio frequency energy outside its assigned channel. Upon 
notice by the FCC to the station licensee or operator that such 
interference is caused by spurious emissions of the station, operation 
of the station shall be immediately suspended and not resumed until the 
interference has been eliminated. However, short test transmissions may 
be made during the period of suspended operation to check the efficacy 
of remedial measures.
    (e) In each instance where suspension of operation is required, the 
licensee shall submit a full report to the FCC in Washington, DC, after 
operation is resumed, containing details of the nature of the 
interference, the source of the interfering signals, and the remedial 
steps taken to eliminate the interference.

Sec. 73.811  LPFM power and antenna height requirements.

    (a) LP100 stations: (1) Maximum facilities. LP100 stations will be 
authorized to operate with maximum facilities of 100 watts effective 
radiated power (ERP) at 30 meters antenna height above average terrain 
(HAAT). An LP100 station with a HAAT that exceeds 30 meters will not be 
permitted to operate with an ERP greater than that which would result 
in a 60 dBu contour of 5.6 kilometers. In no event will an ERP less 
than one watt be authorized. No facility will be authorized in excess 
of one watt ERP at 450 meters HAAT.
    (2) Minimum facilities. LP100 stations may not operate with 
facilities less than 50 watts ERP at 30 meters HAAT or the equivalent 
necessary to produce a 60 dBu contour that extends at least 4.7 
kilometers.
    (b) LP10 stations: (1) Maximum Facilities. LP10 stations will be 
authorized to operate with maximum facilities of 10 watts ERP at 30 
meters HAAT. An LP10 station with a HAAT that exceeds 30 meters will 
not be permitted to operate with an ERP greater than that which would 
result in a 60 dBu contour of 3.2 kilometers. In no event will an ERP 
less than one watt be authorized. No facility will be authorized in 
excess of one watt ERP at 100 meters HAAT.
    (2) Minimum Facilities. LP10 stations may not operate with less 
than one watt ERP.

Sec. 73.812  Rounding of power and antenna heights.

    (a) Effective radiated power (ERP) will be rounded to the nearest 
watt on LPFM authorizations.
    (b) Antenna radiation center, antenna height above average terrain 
(HAAT), and antenna supporting structure height will all be rounded to 
the nearest meter on LPFM authorizations.

Sec. 73.813  Determination of antenna height above average terrain 
(HAAT).

    HAAT determinations for LPFM stations will be made in accordance 
with the procedure detailed in Sec. 73.313(d) of this part.

Sec. 73.816  Antennas.

    (a) Directional antennas will not be authorized in the LPFM 
service.
    (b) Permittees and licensees may employ nondirectional antennas 
with horizontal only polarization, vertical only polarization, circular 
polarization or elliptical polarization.

Sec. 73.825  Protection to Reception of TV Channel 6.

    LPFM stations will be authorized on Channels 201 through 220 only 
if the pertinent minimum separation distances are met with respect to 
all TV Channel 6 stations.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Class LP100 to TV   Class LP10 to TV
          FM Channel No.              Channel 6 (km)     Channel 6 (km)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
201...............................                219                171
202...............................                204                162
203...............................                188                156

[[Page 7645]]

204...............................                179                153
205...............................                167                149
206...............................                156                143
207...............................                151                141
208...............................                151                141
209...............................                151                141
210...............................                151                141
211...............................                151                141
212...............................                149                140
213...............................                147                139
214...............................                145                138
215...............................                143                137
216...............................                142                136
217...............................                142                136
218...............................                139                134
219...............................                137                134
220...............................                136                133
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sec. 73.840  Operating power and mode tolerances.

    The transmitter power output (TPO) of an LPFM station must be 
determined by the procedures set forth in Sec. 73.267 of this part. The 
operating TPO of an LPFM station with an authorized TPO of more than 
ten watts must be maintained as near as practicable to its authorized 
TPO and may not be less than 90% of the minimum TPO nor greater than 
105% of the maximum authorized TPO. An LPFM station with an authorized 
TPO of ten watts or less may operate with less than the authorized 
power, but not more than 105% of the authorized power.

Sec. 73.845  Transmission system operation.

    Each LPFM licensee is responsible for maintaining and operating its 
broadcast station in a manner that complies with the technical rules 
set forth elsewhere in this part and in accordance with the terms of 
the station authorization. In the event that an LPFM station is 
operating in a manner that is not in compliance with the technical 
rules set forth elsewhere in this part or the terms of the station 
authorization, broadcast operation must be terminated within three 
hours.

Sec. 73.850  Operating schedule.

    (a) All LPFM stations will be licensed for unlimited time 
operation, except those stations operating under a time sharing 
agreement pursuant to Sec. 73.872.
    (b) All LPFM stations are required to operate at least 36 hours per 
week, consisting of at least 5 hours of operation per day on at least 6 
days of the week; however, stations licensed to educational 
institutions are not required to operate on Saturday or Sunday or to 
observe the minimum operating requirements during those days designated 
on the official school calendar as vacation or recess periods.

Sec. 73.853  Licensing requirements and service.

    (a) An LPFM station may be licensed only to:
    (1) Nonprofit educational organizations and upon a showing that the 
proposed station will be used for the advancement of an educational 
program; and
    (2) State and local governments and non-government entities that 
will provide non-commercial public safety radio services.
    (b) Only local applicants will be permitted to submit applications 
for a period of two years from the date that LP100 and LP10 stations, 
respectively, are first made available for application. For the 
purposes of this paragraph, an applicant will be deemed local if it can 
certify that:
    (1) The applicant, its local chapter or branch is physically 
headquartered or has a campus within 16.1 km (10 miles) of the proposed 
site for the transmitting antenna;
    (2) It has 75% of its board members residing within 16.1 km (10 
miles) of the proposed site for the transmitting antenna; or
    (3) In the case of any applicant proposing a public safety radio 
service, the applicant has jurisdiction within the service area of the 
proposed LPFM station.

Sec. 73.854  Unlicensed operations.

    No application for an LPFM station may be granted unless the 
applicant certifies, under penalty of perjury, to one of the following 
statements:
    (a) Neither the applicant, nor any party to the application, has 
engaged in any manner including individually or with persons, groups, 
organizations or other entities, in the unlicensed operation of any 
station in violation of section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, 
as amended, 47 U.S.C. 301.
    (b) To the extent the applicant or any party to the application has 
engaged in any manner, individually or with other persons, groups, 
organizations or other entities, in the unlicensed operation of a 
station in violation of section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, 
as amended, 47 U.S.C. 301, such an engagement:
    (1) Ceased voluntarily no later than February 26, 1999, without 
direction from the FCC to do so; or
    (2) Ceased operation within 24 hours of being directed by the FCC 
to terminate unlicensed operation of any station.

Sec. 73.855  Ownership limits.

    (a) No authorization for an LPFM station shall be granted to any 
party if the grant of that authorization will result in any such party 
holding an attributable interest in two LPFM stations separated by less 
than 12 km (7 miles).
    (b) Nationwide ownership limits will be phased in according to the 
following schedule:
    (1) For a period of two years from the date that the LPFM stations 
are first made available for application, a party may hold an 
attributable interest in no more than one LPFM station.
    (2) For the period between two and three years from the date that 
the initial filing window opens for LPFM applications, a party may hold 
an attributable interest in no more than five LPFM stations.
    (3) After three years from the date that the initial filing window 
opens for LPFM stations, a party may hold an attributable interest in 
no more than ten stations.

[[Page 7646]]

Sec. 73.858  Attribution of LPFM station interests.

    Ownership and other interests in LPFM station permittees and 
licensees will be attributed to their holders and deemed cognizable for 
the purposes of Secs. 73.855 and 73.860, in accordance with the 
provisions of Sec. 73.3555, subject to the following exceptions:
    (a) A director of an entity that holds an LPFM license will not 
have such interest treated as attributable if such director also holds 
an attributable interest in a broadcast licensee or other media entity 
but recuses himself or herself from any matters affecting the LPFM 
station.
    (b) A local chapter of a national or other large organization shall 
not have the attributable interests of the national organization 
attributed to it provided that the local chapter is separately 
incorporated and has a distinct local presence and mission.
    (c) A parent or subsidiary of a LPFM licensee or permittee that is 
a non-stock corporation will be treated as having an attributable 
interest in such corporation. The officers, directors, and members of a 
non-stock corporation's governing body and of any parent or subsidiary 
entity will have such positional interests attributed to them.

Sec. 73.860  Cross-ownership.

    (a) No license for an LPFM station shall be granted to any party if 
the grant of such authorization will result in the same party holding 
an attributable interest in any other non-LPFM broadcast station, 
including any FM translator or low power television station, or any 
other media subject to broadcast ownership restrictions.
    (b) A party with an attributable interest in a broadcast radio 
station must divest such interest prior to the commencement of 
operations of an LPFM station in which the party also holds an 
interest.
    (c) No LPFM licensee may enter into an operating agreement of any 
type, including a time brokerage or management agreement, with either a 
full power broadcast station or another LPFM station.

Sec. 73.865  Assignment and transfer of LPFM authorizations.

    (a) An LPFM authorization may not be transferred or assigned except 
for a transfer or assignment that involves:
    (1) Less than a substantial change in ownership and control; or
    (2) An involuntary assignment of license or transfer of control.
    (b) A change in the name of an LPFM licensee where no change in 
ownership or control is involved may be accomplished by written 
notification by the licensee to the Commission.

Sec. 73.870  Processing of LPFM broadcast station applications.

    (a) A minor change for an LP100 station authorized under this 
subpart is limited to transmitter relocations of less than two 
kilometers. A minor change for an LP10 station authorized under this 
subpart cannot is limited to transmitter site relocations of less than 
one kilometer. Minor changes of LPFM stations may include changes in 
frequency to adjacent or IF frequencies, or, upon a technical showing 
of reduced interference, to any frequency.
    (b) The Commission will specify by Public Notice a window filing 
period for applications for new LPFM stations and major modifications 
in the facilities of authorized LPFM stations. LPFM applications for 
new facilities and for major modifications in authorized LPFM stations 
will be accepted only during the appropriate window. Applications 
submitted prior to the window opening date identified in the Public 
Notice will be returned as premature. Applications submitted after the 
deadline will be dismissed with prejudice as untimely.
    (c) Applications subject to paragraph (b) of this section that fail 
to meet the Sec. 73.807 minimum distance separations, other than to 
LPFM station facilities proposed in applications filed in the same 
window, will be dismissed without any opportunity to amend such 
applications.
    (d) Following the close of the window, the Commission will issue a 
Public Notice of acceptance for filing of applications submitted 
pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section that meet technical and legal 
requirements and that are not in conflict with any other application 
filed during the window. Following the close of the window, the 
Commission also will issue a Public Notice of the acceptance for filing 
of all applications tentatively selected pursuant to the procedures for 
mutually exclusive LPFM applications set forth at Sec. 73.872. 
Petitions to deny such applications may be filed within 30 days of such 
public notice and in accordance with the procedures set forth at 
Sec. 73.3584. A copy of any petition to deny must be served on the 
applicant.
    (e) Minor change LPFM applications may be filed at any time, unless 
restricted by the staff, and generally, will be processed in the order 
in which they are tendered. Such applications must meet all technical 
and legal requirements applicable to new LPFM station applications.

Sec. 73.872  Selection procedure for mutually exclusive LPFM 
applications.

    (a) Following the close of each window for new LPFM stations and 
for modifications in the facilities of authorized LPFM stations, the 
Commission will issue a public notice identifying all groups of 
mutually exclusive applications. Such applications will be awarded 
points to determine the tentative selectee. Unless resolved by 
settlement pursuant to paragraph (e) of this section, the tentative 
selectee will be the applicant within each group with the highest point 
total under the procedure set forth in this section, except as provided 
in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section .
    (b) Each mutually exclusive application will be awarded one point 
for each of the following criteria, based on application certification 
that the qualifying conditions are met:
    (1) Established community presence. An applicant must, for a period 
of at least two years prior to application, have been physically 
headquartered, have had a campus, or have had seventy-five percent of 
its board members residing within 10 miles of the coordinates of the 
proposed transmitting antenna. Applicants claiming a point for this 
criterion must submit the documentation set forth in the application 
form at the time of filing their applications.
    (2) Proposed operating hours. The applicant must pledge to operate 
at least 12 hours per day.
    (3) Local program origination. The applicant must pledge to 
originate locally at least eight hours of programming per day. For 
purposes of this criterion, local origination is the production of 
programming within 10 miles of the coordinates of the proposed 
transmitting antenna.
    (c) Voluntary time-sharing. If mutually exclusive applications have 
the same point total, any two or more of the tied applicants may 
propose to share use of the frequency by submitting, within 30 days of 
the release of a public notice announcing the tie, a time-share 
proposal. Such proposals shall be treated as amendments to the time-
share proponents' applications, and shall become part of the terms of 
the station license. Where such proposals include all of the tied 
applications, all of the tied applications will be treated as tentative 
selectees; otherwise, time-share proponents' points will be aggregated 
to determine the tentative selectees.
    (1) Time-share proposals shall be in writing and signed by each 
time-share proponent, and shall satisfy the following requirements:

[[Page 7647]]

    (i) The proposal must specify the proposed hours of operation of 
each time-share proponent;
    (ii) The proposal must not include simultaneous operation of the 
time-share proponents; and (iii) Each time-share proponent must propose 
to operate for at least 10 hours per week.
    (2) Where a station is licensed pursuant to a time-sharing 
proposal, a change of the regular schedule set forth therein will be 
permitted only where an written agreement signed by each time-sharing 
licensee and complying with requirements (i) through (iii) of paragraph 
(c)(1) of this section is filed with the Commission, Attention: Audio 
Services Division, Mass Media Bureau, prior to the date of the change.
    (d) Successive license terms. (1) If a tie among mutually exclusive 
applications is not resolved through time-sharing in accordance with 
paragraph (c) of this section, the tied applications will be reviewed 
for acceptability and applicants with tied, grantable applications will 
be eligible for equal, successive, non-renewable license terms of no 
less than one year each for a total combined term of eight years, in 
accordance with Sec. 73.873. Eligible applications will be granted 
simultaneously, and the sequence of the applicants' license terms will 
be determined by the sequence in which they file applications for 
licenses to cover their construction permits based on the day of 
filing, except that eligible applicants proposing same-site facilities 
will be required, within 30 days of written notification by the 
Commission staff, to submit a written settlement agreement as to 
construction and license term sequence. Failure to submit such an 
agreement will result in the dismissal of the applications proposing 
same-site facilities and the grant of the remaining, eligible 
applications.
    (2) Groups of more than eight tied, grantable applications will not 
be eligible for successive license terms under this section. Where such 
groups exist, the staff will dismiss all but the applications of the 
eight entities with the longest established community presences, as 
provided in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. If more than eight tied, 
grantable applications remain, the applicants must submit, within 30 
days of written notification by the Commission staff, a written 
settlement agreement limiting the group to eight. Failure to do so will 
result in dismissal of the entire application group.
    (e) Mutually exclusive applicants may propose a settlement at any 
time during the selection process after the release of a public notice 
announcing the mutually exclusive groups. Settlement proposals must 
include all of the applicants in a group and must comply with the 
Commission's rules and policies regarding settlements, including the 
requirements of Secs. 73.3525, 73.3588, and 73.3589. Settlement 
proposals may include time-share agreements that comply with the 
requirements of paragraph (c) of this section, provided that such 
agreements may not be filed for the purpose of point aggregation 
outside of the thirty-day period set forth in paragraph (c) of this 
section.

Sec. 73.873  LPFM license period.

    (a) Initial licenses for LPFM stations not subject to successive 
license terms will be issued for a period running until the date 
specified in Sec. 73.1020 for full service stations operating in the 
LPFM station's state or territory, or if issued after such date, 
determined in accordance with Sec. 73.1020.
    (b) The station license period issued under the successive license 
term tiebreaker procedures will be determined pursuant to 
Sec. 73.872(d) and shall be for the period specified in the station 
license.
    (c) The license of an LPFM station that fails to transmit broadcast 
signals for any consecutive 12-month period expires as a matter of law 
at the end of that period, notwithstanding any provision, term, or 
condition of the license to the contrary.

Sec. 73.875  Modification of transmission systems.

    The following procedures and restrictions apply to licensee 
modifications of authorized broadcast transmission system facilities.
    (a) The following changes are prohibited:
    (1) Those that would result in the emission of signals outside of 
the authorized channel exceeding limits prescribed for the class of 
service.
    (2) Those that would cause the transmission system to exceed the 
equipment performance measurements prescribed in Sec. 73.508.
    (b) The following changes may be made only after the grant of a 
construction permit application on FCC Form 318.
    (1) Any construction of a new tower structure for broadcast 
purposes, except for replacement of an existing tower with a new tower 
of identical height and geographic coordinates.
    (2) Any change in station geographic coordinates, including 
coordinate corrections and any move of the antenna to another tower 
structure located at the same coordinates.
    (3) Any change in antenna height more than 2 meters above or 4 
meters below the authorized value.
    (4) Any change in channel.
    (c) The following LPFM modifications may be made without prior 
authorization from the Commission. A modification of license 
application (FCC Form 319) must be submitted to the Commission within 
10 days of commencing program test operations pursuant to Sec. 73.1620. 
For applications filed pursuant to paragraph (c)(1) of this section, 
the modification of license application must contain an exhibit 
demonstrating compliance with the Commission's radiofrequency radiation 
guidelines. In addition, applications solely filed pursuant to 
paragraphs (c)(1) or (c)(2) of this section, where the installation is 
located within 3.2 km of an AM tower or is located on an AM tower, an 
exhibit demonstrating compliance with Sec. 73.1692 is also required.
    (1) Replacement of an antenna with one of the same or different 
number of antenna bays, provided that the height of the antenna 
radiation center is not more than 2 meters above or 4 meters below the 
authorized values. Program test operations at the full authorized ERP 
may commence immediately upon installation pursuant to 
Sec. 73.1620(a)(1).
    (2) Replacement of a transmission line with one of a different type 
or length which changes the transmitter operating power (TPO) from the 
authorized value, but not the ERP, must be reported in a license 
modification application to the Commission.
    (3) Changes in the hours of operation of stations authorized 
pursuant to time-share agreements in accordance with Sec. 73.872.

Sec. 73.877  Station logs for LPFM stations.

    (a) The licensee of each LPFM station must maintain a station log. 
Each log entry must include the time and date of observation and the 
name of the person making the entry. The following information must be 
entered in the station log:
    (1) Any extinguishment or malfunction of the antenna structure 
obstruction lighting, adjustments, repairs, or replacement to the 
lighting system, or related notification to the FAA. See sections 17.48 
and 73.49 of this chapter.
    (2) Brief explanation of station outages due to equipment 
malfunction, servicing, or replacement;
    (3) Operations not in accordance with the station license; and
    (4) EAS weekly log requirements set forth in Sec. 11.61(a)(1)(v) of 
this chapter.
    (b) [Reserved]

[[Page 7648]]

Sec. 73.878  Station inspections by FCC; availability to FCC of station 
logs and records.

    (a) The licensee of a broadcast station shall make the station 
available for inspection by representatives of the FCC during the 
station's business hours, and at any time it is in operation. In the 
course of an inspection or investigation, an FCC representative may 
require special equipment or program tests.
    (b) Station records and logs shall be made available for inspection 
or duplication at the request of the FCC or its representatives. Such 
logs or records may be removed from the licensee's possession by an FCC 
representative or, upon request, shall be mailed by the licensee to the 
FCC by either registered mail, return receipt requested, or certified 
mail, return receipt requested. The return receipt shall be retained by 
the licensee as part of the station records until such records or logs 
are returned to the licensee. A receipt shall be furnished when the 
logs or records are removed from the licensee's possession by an FCC 
representative and this receipt shall be retained by the licensee as 
part of the station records until such records or logs are returned to 
the licensee. When the FCC has no further need for such records or 
logs, they shall be returned to the licensee. The provisions of this 
rule shall apply solely to those station logs and records that are 
required to be maintained by the provisions of this part.
    (1) Where records or logs are maintained as the official records of 
a recognized law enforcement agency and the removal of the records from 
the possession of the law enforcement agency will hinder its law 
enforcement activities, such records will not be removed pursuant to 
this section if the chief of the law enforcement agency promptly 
certifies in writing to the FCC that removal of the logs or records 
will hinder law enforcement activities of the agency, stating insofar 
as feasible the basis for his decision and the date when it can 
reasonably be expected that such records will be released to the FCC.

Sec. 73.879  Signal retransmission.

    An LPFM licensee may not retransmit, either terrestrially or via 
satellite, the signal of a full-power radio broadcast station.

Sec. 73.881  Equal employment opportunities.

    General EEO policy. Equal employment opportunity shall be afforded 
by all LPFM licensees and permittees to all qualified persons, and no 
person shall be discriminated against because of race, color, 
religion, national origin, or sex.
    6. Section 73.1001 is amended by revising paragraphs (b) and (c) to 
read as follows:

Sec. 73.1001  Scope.

* * * * *
    (b) Rules in part 73 applying exclusively to a particular broadcast 
service are contained in the following: AM, subpart A; FM, subpart B; 
Noncommercial Educational FM, subpart C; TV, subpart E; and LPFM, 
subpart G.
    (c) Certain provisions of this subpart apply to International 
Broadcast Stations (subpart F, part 73), LPFM (subpart G, part 73), and 
Low Power TV, TV Translator and TV Booster Stations (subpart G, part 
74) where the rules for those services so provide.
* * * * *

    7. Section 73.1620 is amended by revising paragraph (a) and adding 
paragraph (a)(5) to read as follows:

Sec. 73.1620  Program tests.

    (a) Upon the completion of construction of an AM, FM, LPFM, or TV 
station in accordance with the terms of the construction permit, the 
technical provisions of the application, the rules and regulations and 
the applicable engineering standards, program tests may be conducted in 
accordance with the following:
* * * * *
    (5) Except for permits subject to successive license terms, the 
permittee of an LPFM station may begin program tests upon notification 
to the FCC in Washington, DC, provided that within 10 days thereafter, 
an application for license is filed. Program tests may be conducted by 
a licensee subject to mandatory license terms only during the term 
specified on such licensee's authorization.
* * * * *

    8. Section 73.1660(a) is revised to read as follows:

Sec. 73.1660  Acceptability of broadcast transmitters.

    (a) An AM, FM, LPFM, or TV transmitter shall be verified for 
compliance with the requirements of this part following the procedures 
described in part 2 of the FCC rules.
* * * * *

    9. Section 73.3533 is amended by adding paragraph (a)(8) to read as 
follows:

Sec. 73.3533  Application for construction permit or modification of 
construction permit.

* * * * *
    (a)(8) FCC Form 318, "Application for Construction Permit for a 
Low Power FM Broadcast Station."
* * * * *

    10. Section 73.3536 is amended by adding paragraph (b)(7) to read 
as follows:

Sec. 73.3536  Application for license to cover construction permit.

* * * * *
    (b)(7) FCC Form 319, "Application for a Low Power FM Broadcast 
Station License."
* * * * *

    11. Section 73.3550(f) is revised to read as follows:

Sec. 73.3550  Requirements for new or modified call sign assignments.

* * * * *
    (f) Only four-letter call signs (plus LP, FM, or TV, if used) will 
be assigned. The four letter call sign for LPFM stations will be 
followed by the suffix "-LP". However, subject to the provisions of 
this section, a call sign of a station may be conformed to a commonly-
owned station holding a three-letter call sign (plus FM, TV, or LP 
suffixes, if used).
* * * * *

    12. Section 73.3598(a) is revised to read as follows:

Sec. 73.3598  Period of construction.

    (a) Each original construction permit for the construction of a new 
TV, AM, FM or International Broadcast; low power TV; TV translator; TV 
booster; FM translator; FM booster; or broadcast auxiliary station, or 
to make changes in such existing stations, shall specify a period of 
three years from the date of issuance of the original construction 
permit within which construction shall be completed and application for 
license filed. Each original construction permit for the construction 
of a new LPFM station shall specify a period of eighteen months from 
the date of issuance of the construction permit within which 
construction shall be completed and application for license filed.
* * * * *

    13. Section 73.3617 is revised to read as follows:

Sec. 73.3617  Broadcast information available on the Internet.

    The Mass Media Bureau and each of its Divisions provide information 
on the Internet regarding broadcast rules and policies, pending and 
completed rulemakings, and pending applications. These sites also 
include copies of public notices and texts of recent decisions.

[[Page 7649]]

The Mass Media Bureau's address is www.fcc.gov/mmb/;
the Audio Services Division address is www.fcc.gov/mmb/asd/;
the Video Services Division is located at www.fcc.gov/mmb/vsd/;
and the Policy and Rules Division's address is www.fcc.gov/mmb/prd/.

Part 74--Experimental Radio, Auxiliary, Special Broadcast and Other 
Program Distributional Services

    1. The authority citation for part 74 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 303, 334, 336.

    2. Section 74.432(a) is revised to read as follows:


Sec. 74.432  Licensing requirements and procedures.

    (a) A license for a remote pickup station will be issued to: the 
licensee of an AM, FM, noncommercial FM, low power FM, TV, 
international broadcast or low power TV station; broadcast network-
entity; or cable network-entity.
* * * * *

    3. Section 73.532(a) is revised to read as follows:

Sec. 74.532  Licensing requirements.

    (a) An aural broadcast STL or an aural broadcast intercity relay 
station will be licensed only to the licensee or licensees of broadcast 
stations, including low power FM stations, other than international 
broadcast stations, and for use with broadcast stations owned entirely 
by or under common control of the licensee or licensees. An aural 
broadcast intercity relay station also will be licensed for use by low 
power FM stations, noncommercial educational FM translator stations 
assigned to reserved channels (Channels 201-220) and owned and operated 
by their primary station, by FM translator stations operating within 
the coverage contour of their primary stations, and by FM booster 
stations. Aural auxiliary stations licensed to low power FM stations 
will be assigned on a secondary basis; i.e., subject to the condition 
that no harmful interference is caused to other aural auxiliary 
stations assigned to radio broadcast stations. Auxiliary stations 
licensed to low power FM stations must accept any interference caused 
by stations having primary use of aural auxiliary frequencies.
* * * * *

    4. The heading for Sec. 74.1204 and paragraph (a) are revised, and 
paragraph (a)(4) is added to read as follows:

Sec. 74.1204  Protection of FM broadcast, FM Translator and LP100 
stations.

    (a) An application for an FM translator station will not be 
accepted for filing if the proposed operation would involve overlap of 
predicted field contours with any other authorized commercial or 
noncommercial educational FM broadcast stations, FM translators, and 
Class D (secondary) noncommercial educational FM stations; or if it 
would result in new or increased overlap with an LP100 station, as set 
forth below:
* * * * *
    (4) LP100 stations (Protected Contour: 1mV/m)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Interference contour of proposed  Protected contour of LP100 LPFM
 Frequency separation        translator station                       station
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cochannel 200 kHz.........  0.1 mV/m (40 dBu)                     1.1 mV/m (60 dBu)
                            0.5 mV/m (54 dBu)                     1 mV/m (60 dBu)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *
[FR Doc. 00-2718 Filed 2-14-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
   
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