Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

FCC Adopts Rules to Expand Low Power Radio Service

Download Options

Released: November 30, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.


Washington, D. C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).



November 30, 2012
Janice Wise (202) 418-8165



Washington, D.C. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today released a Fifth Order on
Reconsideration and Sixth Report and Order
that expands low power radio opportunities for diverse
media voices nationwide. Processing approximately 6,000 FM translator applications and setting the
rules of the road for LPFM are the last steps necessary before opening a window for community groups to
seek new low power FM licenses starting in October of 2013. The Orders follow the Commission's
Fourth Report and Order and Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted on March 19,

Fifth Order on Reconsideration.

A number of parties filed petitions for reconsideration of the
Fourth Report and Order, challenging the per-market and/or the national caps on translator applications
that will be processed. The Fifth Order on Reconsideration: (1) establishes a national limit of 70
applications so long as no more than 50 of them are inside of the Appendix A markets; (2) increases the
per-market cap in 156 larger markets from one application to up to three applications for each market,
subject to certain conditions; and (3) clarifies the application of the per-market cap in "embedded"

Sixth Report and Order.

The Sixth Report and Order lays the groundwork for introduction of
LPFM stations into major urban markets for the first time. It establishes, as mandated by the Local
Community Radio Act, a second-adjacent channel spacing waiver standard and an interference-
remediation scheme to ensure that operations of stations with these waivers will not cause interference to
other stations. The Order also creates separate third-adjacent channel interference remediation regimes
for short-spaced and fully-spaced LPFM stations. Finally, the rules address the potential for predicted
interference to FM translator input signals from LPFM stations operating on third-adjacent channels.
The Sixth Report and Order additionally makes a number of rule changes to better promote the
core localism and diversity goals of LPFM service. Specifically, the revised rules:

modify the point system used to select from among mutually exclusive LPFM
applications by adding new criteria to promote the establishment and staffing of a main
studio, radio service proposals by Tribal Nations to serve Tribal lands, and new entry into
radio broadcasting. In addition, a "bonus" point is added for applicants that are eligible
for both the local program origination and main studio points;

clarify that the localism requirement applies not just to LPFM applicants but also to
LPFM permittees and licensees;

permit cross-ownership of an LPFM station and up to two FM translator stations, but
impose restrictions on such cross-ownership in order to ensure that the LPFM service
retains its extremely local focus;

provide for the licensing of LPFM stations to Tribal Nations, and permit Tribal Nations
to own or hold attributable interests in up to two LPFM stations;

revise the existing exception to the cross-ownership rule for student-run stations;

modify the involuntary time-sharing procedures, shifting from sequential to concurrent
license terms and limiting involuntary time sharing arrangements to three applicants;

adopt mandatory time-sharing procedures for established LPFM stations that are on the
air for less than twelve hours per day;

eliminate the LP10 class of LPFM facilities; and

eliminate the intermediate frequency (I.F.) protection requirements applicable to LPFM
Action by the Commission November 30, 2012, by Fifth Order on Reconsideration and Sixth Report and
Order (FCC 12-144) Chairman Genachowski, Commissioners McDowell, Clyburn, Rosenworcel and
Pai. Separate statements issued by Chairman Genachowski, Commissioners McDowell, Clyburn,
Rosenworcel and Pai.
For further information, contact Peter Doyle (202-418-2789; Press contact: Janice
Wise (202-418-8165;
For news and information about the FCC, please visit:

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.


You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.