LPFM Test Details, Radio Listening Hits 27-Year Low

More info is now available about the testing of third-adjacent channels (.6 MHz from other stations) for the new LPFM service. Comsearch, an engineering consulting firm based in Virginia (who lists its fields of expertise as “Microwave,” “Satellite,” “PCS,” and “Broadband”), has received the deal and was awarded six experimental LPFM licenses on August 30.
Comsearch’s 100-watt stations will operate in Winters,CA; Owatonna,MN; Brunswick,ME; Benicia,CA; Avon,CT; and East Bethel,MN. The full-power stations on the third-adjacent channels in those areas range in size from 23,000 to 100,000 watts.
Interestingly, none of these locations are in major urban metropolitan areas – those who were basically excluded from getting new LPFM stations when Congress gutted the FCC’s original ruling and restored third-adjacent channel protections.
When doing tests like these, location, location, LOCATION of the transmitter and receivers is paramount. A cursory examination of what little we know about the project so far has left me feeling a bit ambivalent about the whole thing. Still no word yet on when we can expect to see results.
In some radio industry-related news, Duncan’s American Radio, who’s specialized in radio market research for more than 25 years, has just released its 2002 Market Guide. Inside, it notes that radio listenership is at the lowest levels ever seen since the Guide has been published. In the last 12 years alone, overall listenership has dropped some 13%.
Maybe it has something to do with consolidation and the likes of Randy Michaels, the recently-ex CEO of Clear Channel’s radio division, who boasted to Radio Ink magazine recently about how he still idolizes Wal-Mart as a business model for the radio industry:
“When Clear Channel comes to town and buys both radio stations, nothing much changes. Maybe we put in voicetracking, but we probably also put in more news and other systems…We increase the level of public service, and compared to Wal-Mart, the effect on the community is negligible. Yet the bulletin boards are filled with people bashing Clear Channel.”
Yeah, Randy. Only in your little fantasy world. Maybe you could explain to me why the news staff at the local Clear Channel talk station in my town (population 200,000) is also doing the news for the Clear Channel talker in the metropolitan area of more than 1,000,000 an hour down the road.