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NAB Slams LPFM Study

The National Association of Broadcasters Tuesday took aim at a Federal Communications Commission study that showed that more low-power stations could be added to the FM band without causing undue interference to existing broadcasters.

The NAB said the study should be "rejected out of hand," branding it "fraught with major technical flaws, including site selection, frequency selection ... and testing methodology," which invalidated "any recommendation regarding the feasibility of relaxing third-adjacent-channel spacing requirements for LPFM stations."

Restrictions barring LPFM stations from operating on third-adjacent channels (a two-channel separation) from full-power stations are not necessary, concluded the MITRE Corp. report submitted to the FCC June 30.

The report found that LPFM stations can be operated on third-adjacent channels if "relatively modest" geographic separation -- from a few tens of meters to slightly more than one kilometer -- is maintained. Congress imposed the restrictions in 2000, citing conflicting data, but it required the FCC to conduct the study.

The FCC has suggested that adding those LPFM stations, per the study’s green light, could be one way of increasing diversity -- an issue agency chairman Michael Powell has made the subject of an ongoing inquiry.