FCC staff reports fast clip for processing of LPFM apps

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FCC commissioners got an update Friday on the status of low-power FM applications, six months after the closing of the most recent LPFM application window.

The FCC received 2,826 applications for low-power stations during the window, which ran from Oct. 17 to Nov. 15, 2013. As of April, FCC staff had granted permits to more than 1,200 of those applicants. They said Friday at a meeting of FCC commissioners that they expect to approve a total of 1,500 to 1,800 applications.

Meanwhile, FCC staffers are working to sort through 6,350 pending applications for FM translators, which will help to guarantee maximum availability of spectrum for use by new LPFMs.

Commissioners also learned that the FCC’s legal department is addressing an “unprecedented” number of objections to LPFM applications.

The largest number of LPFM applications came from Texas, which had 303. California had the next-highest number, at 285, and Florida had the third-highest number of applications with 275.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said Friday that the commission is approving LPFM applications at a much higher rate than it did after the last filing windows in 2000 and 2001. That time around, the FCC took four years to approve 1,200 applications, he said.

Pai said also that the FCC is on track to approve more stations this time than after previous windows, despite a decline in applications filed.

“Despite the fact that 400 fewer LPFM applications were filed nationwide in 2013 than in 2000-2001, the [Audio] Division is on track to grant somewhere between 175 and 475 more applications this time around,” he said.

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