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FCC Advances LPFM Applications?

Washington—The FCC last week took the first steps toward following through on Chairman Michael Powell's pledge to speed the approval of low-power FM stations as part of his localism initiative. Those steps include helping station seekers with conflicting applications to find alternative channels on the band and permitting settlement payoffs for more than cost. The commission says any outstanding mutually exclusive applications for LPFM stations that can be settled by Oct. 31 will receive expedited processing.

Kissy Madonna Upstages MTV Awards

New York—Wins by rappers Missy Elliot and 50 Cent couldn't outbuzz Madonna's performance at Thursday's Video Music Awards. In a four-way medley of her "Like a Virgin" and more recent "Hollywood," Madonna planted long, open-mouthed kisses on Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Elliot abstained from the rehearsed action.

Date Set for Spectrum Sale

Washington—Jan. 14 is the new date for an FCC auction of spectrum slated for a terrestrial-based competitor to DBS and cable. Primary applicants for the frequencies, on the same band as DBS, are Northpoint Technology and MDS America. Northpoint has asked federal judges to block the sale on grounds that it did the work to prove that the service was viable and there were no competing applications when it filed for the license. On the block will be licenses for 214 markets in the 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Northern Mariana Islands. Minimum bids range from $961,000 for New York City to $1,000 for rural Alaska.