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Commissioner Pai Statement on the Status of the LPRM Proceeding

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Released: June 13, 2014
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STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI

ON THE MEDIA BUREAU’S PRESENTATION

ON THE STATUS OF THE LPFM PROCEEDING

First and foremost, I would like to thank the staff of the Media Bureau’s Audio Division for all of

their hard work on the low-power FM (LPFM) proceeding. When I proposed that we set October 2013 as

the month for opening the new LPFM application window, I was confident that the Audio Division could

handle this important task. But they’ve managed to surpass even these lofty expectations.

The results we’ve heard about this morning are tremendous. For example, the Audio Division

has granted 1,200 applications in just six months. By contrast, in the 2000–2001 LPFM application

windows, it took the Commission about four years to grant that many applications. This means that the

Division has been processing applications eight times more quickly. That kind of efficiency does the

public right, and I am confident that the Division will continue to make the agency proud as it finishes

processing the remaining applications.

I’m also pleased that this application window is on track to be even more successful than earlier

ones. Despite the fact that 400 fewer LPFM applications were filed nationwide in 2013 than in 2000–

2001, the Division is on track to grant somewhere between 175 and 475 more applications this time

around.

These aren’t just cold numbers on a page. They represent new voices across our country. Thanks

to the Division’s efforts, countless community organizations are going to use LPFM stations to bring

innovative content to our nation’s airwaves.

In doing so, they’ll promote diversity and serve the unique

interests of our local communities.

In my home state of Kansas, for instance, no fewer than five new Spanish-language LPFM

stations have already been approved during this window. These stations will serve communities big and

small, from Topeka, the state capital, to Ulysses, a small town of about 6,000 people in southwest Kansas

named after our nation’s 18th President. A new Chinese-language LPFM station has also been approved

to serve Lawrence, Kansas. These unique offerings are exactly what Congress intended when it passed

the Local Community Radio Act in 2010.

Finally, I hope that we will now bring this same sense of urgency to revitalization of the AM

band. Commenters overwhelmingly supported the reforms we proposed to our AM radio rules last

October. They’re particularly interested in the idea of opening a window for AM broadcasters to acquire

FM translators. They’ve also taken us up on our request for ideas beyond the NPRM’s four corners and

have offered thoughtful suggestions for improving the AM service in both the short and long terms.

Given the static facing the AM band, we can’t afford to delay.

Let’s set the end of October as the

deadline for action and prioritize opening an FM translator window for AM broadcasters. Thanks to the

Audio Division’s talented and dedicated staff, I have no doubt that we can get this done if we tune the dial

just so.

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