Screwed LPFM Applicants to get Second Chance

This week, the FCC announced a remedial window for LPFM applicants who applied for a license before Congress gutted the plan and disqualified many who’d already applied. These applicants were shafted when the channels that they applied for, which were initially considered open by the FCC’s initial LPFM rule, were suddenly declared off-limits by Congressional fiat. For more than a year now, these applicants have been in a sort of limbo, unable to amend their applications to account for the lower number of open frequencies.
A five-day window for those applicants will open in late October – but many have been permanently disqualified from an LPFM license thanks to the NAB/NPR shenanigans in Congress. Some of those who had applied have gone on the air anyway, and don’t have much interest in trying to re-engage the FCC in the licensing process. Even so, it’s a nice gesture on the FCC’s part.
Of course, this tidbit of good news is overshadowed by the bad news: the FCC has begun a review of its media ownership regulations, with an eye on further loosening the rules to allow even more media consolidation, including expanding the opportunities for cross-ownership between different forms of media. Chairman Michael Powell is obviously very giddy about the prospects of this, but at least one Commissioner is expressing misgivings about releasing this genie – especially when it’ll be almost impossible to put back in the bottle.
Studies are currently underway to examine the rules and how they might be changed; once those are done the FCC will invite public comment on the issue.