FCC Begs Off on Translator-Expansion (for now)

A pleasant surprise: last week, during the FCC’s monthly meeting, the Commission was to vote on a disastrous plan to give all AM stations a buttload of FM translators, gratis. However – and somewhat true to form for Chairman Kevin Martin’s tenure – the item was pulled from consideration at the last minute. An unnamed source within the FCC reportedly says this is not just a short-term delay; the FM translator giveaway is not slated to be on October’s agenda, either.
Some trade publication, whose name escapes me now (because I didn’t bookmark to their miniscule blurb on the subject), claims that it is the “forces of LPFM” which have delayed the translator giveaway. Not sure what that’s supposed to mean: the “forces of LPFM” are not nearly as organized as they were just a few short months ago, when they lost their most talented and driven public-interest lobbyist for greener pastures. This is a loss that, frankly, cannot be adequately replaced.
Meanwhile, legislation continues to percolate through Congress that would expand the LPFM service, by and large, out to its original scope as proposed by the FCC some eight years ago. As I’ve said before, I’d rather see this particular effort die and the “forces of LPFM” re-organize to support a bona-fide, no-strings-attached expansion of the service. It’s not like the FCC hasn’t ever gone against the will of Congress in the past, so I can’t see this being a reasonable explanation for the FCC’s inaction on this particular issue, either.
Regardless, a bad deed was not done, for once, and that’s small solace. Meanwhile, there are still some other poisonous ideas floating around the FCC that could be bad for LPFM, and those are still apparently under discussion. And, oh, yeah, AM stations can still apply for the use of FM translators through the FCC’s back door.