Image of Richard Arsenault in his office  RICHARD ARSENAULT

 BROADCAST RADIO CONSULTANT

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Call or email me at RadioConsultant@mail.com for answers about your radio broadcasting options.   By utilizing the existing FCC database and other references, I can perform an analysis to find any broadcasting facilities that are potentially available for in your area.   Let's see what we can find.   As always, our initial conversation is "FREE" and without obligation.




CONTENTS:

  1.) LOW POWER FM (LPFM) RADIO

  2.) SUMMARY OF THE COMMUNITY RADIO ACT OF 2010 - LPFM

  3.) MICROPOWER RADIO / MICROBROADCASTING OPTIONS



1.) LOW POWER FM (LPFM) RADIO:

Low Power FM (LPFM) was established to provide communities a local radio voice.   An LPFM broadcast station operating at the maximum authorized final power of 100 watts Effective Radiated Power (ERP) and with an antenna height of 30 meters (100 feet) above average terrain can generally expect coverage out to about 5.6 kilometers and sometimes more from the physical transmitter site.   Not-for-profit entities are typically eligible to file and receive an LPFM broadcast radio Construction Permit and License from the Federal Communications Commission.   Some of the non-profit entities likely eligible to apply for an LPFM construction permit include a public or private school, college, university, institute or other educational entity; church, parish, temple, synagogue, seminary, bible college, theological college, divinity school or other religious entity; community association or organization; government body at the federal, state, county or municipal level and typically any associated public library, office of emergency management, police department or fire station.   Specific legal qualifications must be met.   There are no FCC application filing fees associated with the submission of an LPFM Form 318 - APPLICATION FOR CONSTRUCTION PERMIT FOR A LOW POWER FM (LPFM) BROADCAST STATION.   The proposed LPFM station operating frequency, geographical transmitter site coordinates and other technical data are required to be submitted with the engineering portion of the FCC LPFM Form 318 Construction Permit application.   The engineering exhibits and associated data included the FCC Construction Permit (CP) application do not necessarily require preparation or certification by a professionally licensed consulting radio engineer.   The recipient of an FCC Construction Permit (CP) needs to file a number of additional documents with the Commission and has a total of 18 months to physically construct the Low Power FM radio station facility.   The Construction Permit (CP) recipient must also submit FCC Form 319 - APPLICATION FOR A LOW POWER FM (LPFM) BROADCAST STATION LICENSE.   LPFM facilities are authorized by law under Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) which is commonly known by broadcasters as Part 73 of the FCC Rules and Regulations.

2.) LPFM - THE LOCAL COMMUNITY RADIO ACT OF 2010:

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 6533 and the Senate passed S. 592 which are collectively known as the 'Local Community Radio Act of 2010'.   This Act addressed the authorization of additional Low-Power FM (LPFM) radio stations and was signed into law in January 2011.


SUMMARY OF THIS ACT AND IT'S IMPACT ON LPFM, FULL POWER FM, TRANSLATOR AND FM BOOSTER STATIONS:

This Act required that the Federal Communications Commission license additional LPFM stations.   The FCC opened its most recent LPFM filing window in 2013 from October 15th to November 15th.   The Act further specified that the FCC modify its existing rules by deleting the requirement that LPFM (Low Power FM) broadcast radio stations provide protection to other full-service FM stations, FM translator stations, and FM booster stations operating on third-adjacent channels.  

Let me explain what deletion of the third-adjacent channel protection requirement means... For example, if a station is operating on 106.5 MHz, co-channel is defined as that same frequency: 106.5 MHz.

First-adjacent channels are defined as one channel above and one channel below the co-channel frequency of 106.5 MHz.   Since FM channels are spaced 0.2 MHz in the United States, we would add 0.2 MHz to the original 106.5 MHz frequency to obtain the first upper adjacent channel frequency of 106.7 MHz.   We also subtract 0.2 MHz from 106.5 MHz to obtain the first lower adjacent frequency of 106.3 MHz.   Therefore, the first-adjacent channels to 106.5 MHz are 106.7 MHz (upper) and 106.3 MHz (lower).

Second-adjacent channels to 106.5 MHz are two channels removed, 0.2 MHz plus 0.2 MHz, or a total of 0.4 MHz above and below 106.5 MHz which calculates to the frequencies of 106.9 MHz (upper) and 106.1 MHz (lower).

Third-adjacent channels to 106.5 MHz are 0.6 MHz removed which calculates to 107.1 MHz (upper) and 105.9 MHz (lower).

With this change in policy, LPFM stations will now be permitted to provide service and/or to operate within the service areas of other stations operating on third-adjacent channels.   The end result is that additional usable LPFM frequencies will be created.   The existing minimum co-channel, first-adjacent and second-adjacent channel distance separation requirements will not be affected by this Act with exception that the FCC may conditionally grant waivers of the second-adjacent channel distance separation requirements for any LPFM stations that can adequately demonstrate in the engineering portion of its application that proposed operation will not result in additional interference to all other authorized FM facilities.

This Act further clarified that the FCC maintain minimum distance separation requirements with respect to FM stations that broadcast 'Radio Reading Services' via an analog subcarrier frequency to avoid the possibility of interference from potential Low-Power FM facilities.   The FCC will be required to ensure that new licenses are made available for FM translator stations, FM booster stations, and Low-Power FM stations and that decisions regarding the allocation of these facilities be made based on the needs of communities to have a local voice.

The FCC modified its rules to address the potential for predicted interference to FM translator input signals on third-adjacent channels and to modify its interference complaint process described in 47 CFR 73.810 of its rules.

3.) MICROPOWER RADIO / MICROBROADCASTING OPTIONS:

Title 47 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations (47 CFR), Part 15, addresses unlicensed radio emissions.   Broadcasting is permitted without an FCC license when operation is in strict compliance with 47 CFR, Part 15.   The preparation of complicated radio engineering studies, the filing of applications and review by FCC staff engineers are all generally NOT required for operation under Part 15 of the Commission's Rules and Regulations.   Whether you are an existing licensed broadcast station manager, staff radio engineer or a newcomer simply interested in a small start-up broadcast operation, you might want to consider utilizing a micropower transmitter system to easily and quickly meet all or part of your needs.   Although coverage is limited from an individual transmitter, the possibility exists for networking a few Part 15 transmitters to provide radio service to hundreds or even thousands of potential listeners.   Low Power AM transmitters can sometimes be used to provide fill-in service for existing stations in small isolated communities.   Claims of coverage achieved from properly engineered micro broadcasting transmitting systems have ranged up to 1 mile and sometimes more under ideal conditions from an optimized single unlicensed Low Power AM transmitter installation.   In addition to the relative low cost associated with most micropower radio transmitter installations, the types of applications and potential benefits of Part 15 facilities include:

Non-commercial and commercial use are both permitted.

Interested individuals, existing broadcasters, churches, educational institutions (including schools, colleges and universities), theme park operators, drive-thru businesses and all other entities can easily install a system.  

The rules permit some campus radio stations to operate at even higher power levels.

Microbroadcasting can provide fill-in service coverage to one or more locations and at on-site events without the delays, expenses and/or barriers typically associated with obtaining a Full Power authorization from the FCC.

Fast food drive-thru restaurants can broadcast current and upcoming specials and other information to their customers car radios as customers wait and pick-up their orders.

Banks can broadcast special checking, savings, loan and certificate of deposit promotions intermixed with information about upcoming community events to customers car radios as they wait in-line for the drive-thru teller.

The inclusion of community events by a micropower broadcast station is another way for your customers or clients to find out about events around town and help integrate your business into the fiber of the local community.   Additionally, customers have a greater likelihood of tuning into your Low Power radio station and hearing your messages when a schedule of community events is also included.

Currently, the greatest opportunities to cover larger areas without an FCC license under Part 15 are realized when transmitting in the upper portion of AM Standard Broadcast Band.   Low Power AM transmitters which operate with up to 100 mW of input power to the final RF stage are permitted, but design and installation must be in total compliance with 47 CFR, Part 15.   Radio engineers and technical consultants with appropriate knowledge and testing equipment should install Low Power transmitters with associated antennas.   Operating an unlicensed Part 15 transmitter which is fully compliant with the Rules and Regulations is recommended to minimize potential problems resulting from inspection by an FCC radio engineer.


You are welcome to call me with your questions "FREE" of charge and without obligation for our initial conversation or email me at RadioConsultant@mail.com.   I welcome the opportunity to be your consultant.   Alternately, you can contact your regular consulting radio engineer, broadcast engineering services consultant or communications attorney for legal support.


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