FCC Seeks Comment on Allowing FM Broadcasting on LPTV Channel 6

In the Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the FCC’s proceeding to establish rules for digital LPTV and TV translator stations, the FCC has sought comment on whether to allow licensees on digital television channel 6 to provide FM radio-type services (known as “Franken FMs”) after the digital conversion. Channel 6 is immediately below the noncommercial FM radio band and can be received on most radio receivers at 87.7 MHz. Specifically, the FCC seeks comment on the following items:

  • Whether to allow LPTV stations on digital television channel 6 (82-88 MHz) to operate FM radio-type services on an ancillary or supplementary basis by using a single transmitter with a digital visual/audio stream and a separate analog audio transmission that will preserve the ability to broadcast radio programming on 87.7 MHz.
  • Whether a digital LPTV station can operate an analog transmitter without interfering or derogating its co-channel digital TV operation. In particular, the FCC seeks comment on the likelihood of potential interference to primary licensees, in particular NCE FM radio stations operating on Channels 201 (88.1 MHz) and 202 (88.3 MHz).
  • If analog FM radio-type operations by LPTV stations are allowed, should: (i) such operations be subject to all other rules applicable to FM radio stations; and (ii) should licensees be subject to the five percent (5%) fee applicable to gross revenues derived from all ancillary and supplementary services.

Reply Comments are due to be filed with the FCC by February 2, 2015. If you have any questions or wish to file in the proceeding, please contact any attorney in our office.

Categories: Media