COMMISSIONER JESSICA ROSENWORCEL
Presentation on the Status of the Low Power FM Open Filing Window
(September 26, 2013)
There is something special about a voice in the air. One that rises above the din and
provides local radio with unique local character. That is why in these days of exploding global
online content, there is still great value and art in community broadcasting.
Now, courtesy of the Local Community Radio Act, this Commission is poised to multiply
the number of local voices on radio in communities across the country. This means new
opportunities for non-profit associations, schools, religious organizations, and public safety
groups to broadcast to their communities and gain a footing in the radio business. This could
lead to hundreds--maybe even thousands--of new low power FM stations up and down the
dial. This is exciting.
The road to this day was a long one. More than a decade ago, in 2000, the Commission
first authorized the creation of low power FM stations to provide noncommercial, educational,
and local groups with the opportunity to provide a community-based radio service. The same
year, Congress passed legislation delaying the removal of third-adjacent channel separation
requirements and also requiring the Commission to study interference issues and report its
findings. While "third-adjacent channel separation requirements" sounds technical and small, it
has had big impact, limiting the Commission's ability to issue licenses for community
broadcasting, especially in urban areas.
But in 2011, the Local Community Radio Act, which removed these separation
requirements, was signed into law. Since that time, the Commission has been busy. We have
readied our processes, managed an earlier influx of translator applications, and balanced the need
to protect full power stations while providing opportunities for new low power applicants. The
Media Bureau deserves tremendous credit for its thoughtful work on low power FM to date.
Now, however, is showtime. We open the window for new filings for low power FM
stations just days from today. So I hope our applicants show us in force how low power FM can
become a more vibrant part of community broadcasting, a source of new content, a driver of new
music, a platform for unique local news. We can add real diversity to the FM dial. We can
make that voice that rises in the air even more local and more interesting. I, for one, can't wait.