Why aren't all LPFM stations required to carry a certain amount of local programming?


In the original LPFM Report and Order, local programming was discussed.  Many commenters did feel that there should be a local programming requirement.  REC at the time, recommended that LPFM stations should be required to provide 8 hours of local programming each weekday with no restrictions after 10PM or on weekends.  

The FCC encouraged the provision of locally originated programming by means of a licensing preference.  The FCC, like REC feels that in certain cases, programming need not be locally originated to be responsive to local needs.  As a result, the FCC did not impose a specific requirement for local programming by LPFM licensees.  They further stated "[w]e believe that the nature of the service, combined with the eligibility criteria and preferences we are adopting, will ensure that LPFM licenses provide locally originated programming or programming that is otherwise responsive to local needs."

In the Fourth Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2012), the subject of local origination came up again as we were getting prepared for the upcoming filing window as a result of the passage of the Local Community Radio Act.  The FCC inquired on whether LPFM stations should be required to provide locally-originated programming.

In the Sixth Report and Order, Prometheus Radio Project endorsed a 20-hour per week local origination requirement stating that such a requirement would more effectively ensure that a station would serve community needs, be consistent with the FCC's localism goals and would remediate the "drastic decline" of local programming in the media. REC understood that not all programmers may have the resources (especially from the very start) to program 20 hours per week.  

 The Commission decided that nothing in the record persuades them from changing the original rule from the original Report and Order by not requring LPFM stations to originate local programming but to use it for licensing priority.  The FCC does cite an REC position that LPFM stations that are targeted at ethnic minorities should be permited to broadcast programming "from home" or that programming produced for a neighboring county could have relevance in the local area served by the LPFM station.  

References:

Creation of a Low Power Radio Service, Report and Order. MM Docket 99-25. 15 FCC Rcd 2205 et. seq. at para. 168-172.

Creation of a Low Power Radio Service, Sixth Report and Order and Fifth Order on Reconsideration. MM Docket 99-25. 27 FCC Rcd 15402 et. seq. at para. 175-184.

Last update:
2015-05-23 15:51
Author:
Michelle Bradley
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