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Creation of a Low Power Radio Service, Amendment of Service and Eligibility Rules of
FM Broadcast Translator Stations
, Fifth Order on Reconsideration and Sixth
Report and Order, MM Docket No. 99-25, MB Docket No. 07-172, RM-11338
(November 30, 2012)
There are few things more compelling than the human voice. Think of the words of a
storyteller; the commanding sound of breaking news; the dulcet tones of a lullaby; and the wail
of a singer accompanied by a raucous band. The medium is made that much more meaningful
when the voices are local and speak directly to the needs and interests of the neighborhood. In
these days of exploding global online content, there is still great value and art in community
broadcasting. That is why I am pleased to support today's decision.
This decision opens the door for non-profit associations, schools, religious organizations,
and public safety groups to provide new local content through low power radio broadcasting.
The road to today's decision has been long, but that makes the arrival no less sweet.
Over a decade ago, in 2000, the Commission first authorized the creation of low power
FM (LPFM) 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.
However, for years, a stalwart group of legislators fought to change the law. It is an
honor to have Representative Doyle and Representative Terry join us today to celebrate this
agency effort. They are true heroes of community broadcasting who worked over multiple
congresses to get the Local Community Radio Act signed into law. They were determined. I
know, because I spent quite a bit of time during my tenure as staff on the Senate Commerce
Committee assisting Senator Cantwell and Senator McCain advance similar legislation in the
Tenacity, it turns out, has its rewards. And as a result, today we put the final pieces of
implementing the Local Community Radio Act in place. The Commission's decision is
balanced. It protects full power stations while providing opportunities for new low power
applicants. It also resolves challenges to the procedures we adopted to process over 6000
applications that remain pending from Auction 83--in a manner that is fair to both translator
applicants and potential LPFM licensees. Critically, we announce an October 15, 2013 target
date for an open window for low power applicants, giving them time to prepare for this new
opportunity. It is an exciting time for community broadcasting--because we can all look
forward to new local voices on the FM dial.

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