LPAM Comments In, Favor Further Exploration

The initial comment period on the petition for rulemaking closed on November 21. Just over two dozen comments were filed, the overwhelming majority of which favor further FCC study of a low-power AM community broadcast service. Not too bad considering the petition got almost zero publicity. Comments from LPFM’s major players are nonexistent, save for an excellent graphic from REC Networks illustrating just how LPAM might bring community radio to places (legal) LPFM will never reach.
The only real exceptions were nearly-identical comments filed by Minority Broadcasters, Inc., New World Broadcasting, and Arso Radio Corporation (all by the same author, Anthony T. Lepore, Esq.), which “strongly opposes” the creation of an LPAM service. Lepore’s clients, which apparently include small-time commercial broadcasters operating “daytimer” stations (these are AM stations which must drastically reduce power between local sunset and sunrise), already struggle in “a crowded AM broadcast market rife with pirate broadcasters.”
Furthermore, Lepore’s clients think the LPAM petition is being advanced as “a blueprint for officially sanctioned ‘pirate’ broadcasting, where these LPAM facilities could compete for advertising dollars with traditional broadcasters, but not be held to the same standards and obligations of such broadcasters.”
While nothing could be further from the truth, the ball is in the FCC’s court now as to whether the idea merits more scrutiny. We’ll either hear soon (i.e., the next 3-6 months) or nothing further.