LPFM Notes; Media Reform Conference Redux

Last week REC Networks released a comprehensive report on all LPFM stations which face interference, displacement, and the varying degrees of signal encroachment in between from full-power FM stations. The report runs 110 pages. REC’s also been keeping a close eye on the DTV transition, and reports that of all of the stations currently broadcasting on Channel 6, only five have requested to stay on their analog channel past the transition cutoff date (to be determined).
Got some reliable information on the political situation in D.C. It seems that the National Association of Broadcasters is busy fighting bigger problems, like losing its request that all DTV channels be carried on cable, and the indecency hot potato, and others. At the LPFM Day not so long ago a new LPFM rulemaking was hinted at. Perhaps this can accomplish at the agency level what the Local Community Radio Act of 2005 is trying to do. There’s definitely a better chance of expanding LPFM at the FCC level, especially while the NAB’s playing defense on the legislative front. I think the folks at NPR are mature enough to see that it’s time to cede the issue.
Any plan that does not address the translator issue, however, is next to worthless. In the last two years 2,000 potential LPFM channels around the country have been lost to translator proliferation. Free Radio Olympia’s changing frequencies again for this very reason: “ultimately there will be nowhere left for us to go on the dial.”
Finally, a second National Conference for Media Reform, will go down this May in St. Louis. The first conference (Madison, November 2003) was definitely a big hit, but it sounds like the Free Press crew plan to top that one. Bob McChesney sez: “It is going to make Woodstock look like a funeral.” At least as much as a conference on media policy reform can be. Not sure about shadow conference activities, although the Be the Media! blog will be resurrected for the occasion.