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LPFM fight goes on

Friends and foes of the FCC's low-power radio plan are continuing to do battle.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) have introduced a bill that would allow the FCC to go ahead, while also ensuring that full-power broadcasters could appeal to the FCC should interference occur.

"This legislation strikes a fair balance by allowing non-interfering low-power FM stations to operate without further delay, while affecting only those low-power stations that the FCC finds to be causing harmful interference in their actual, everyday operations," McCain said. He introduced a similar bill in support of the FCC's LPFM effort earlier this summer.

The NAB kept up its staunch opposition, saying that, "if these senators listened to their constituents, they would know that the FCC can't handle the interference already out there, let alone the new interference that hundreds or thousands of new LPFM stations will cause."

As proof, NAB offered up a letter from a minority broadcaster in McCain's home state. "For five long years, my company fought unsuccessfully for relief from the FCC to remove an interfering low-power translator," wrote Arthur Mobley, president of Eight Chiefs Inc., which runs KMJK-FM Phoenix. "The commission finally took action and shut the offending translator down after my station and company suffered irreversible harm."

A bipartisan group of congressmen and senators also is working to stop the effort, telling the FCC "it would be imprudent for the commission to move this time."

Meanwhile, the FCC continued on, announcing that it will open its second licensing window Aug. 28 through Sept. 1 to accept applications from Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, Virginia and Wyoming. The rest of the FCC's LPFM licensing windows will open in November 2000, February 2001 and May 2001.