LPFM Expansion Bill Introduced in House

Overlooked in the hurricane fury: this month Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) introduced the “Enhance and Protect Local Community Radio Act of 2005.” It’s a companion bill to Senator McCain and Leahy’s (R-AZ / D-VT) legislation, although it adds a substantial twist on the translator issue.
The bill would essentially cap translator station ownership at 20, and would give LPFM stations preferential status relative to translators that relay distant programming. It also bans the voluntary transfer of translator station construction permits. With respect to the translator invasion of 2003, pending construction permits would undergo extra scrutiny by the FCC for evidence of trafficking, and the full Commission would have to vote on issuing licenses to cover those that clear review (a formality normally conducted by staff in the Media Bureau).
So far the House bill has five cosponsors, all Democrats. Given previous strategic thinking, it’s not an encouraging debut. This is not stopping the Prometheus Radio Project from thinking big, though: at the agency level they have proposed the FCC create another new class of radio station: the LCFM (Local Community FM). It’s a clever way of chiseling more space on the dial for low-power stations without needing the permission of Congress.