Franken-FM’s To Get Temporary Stay; Potentially Permanent One
The LPTV stations on Channel 6 that operate as radio stations on 87.7 have gotten a stay of execution from the FCC.
The September 1, 2015 deadline that would’ve forced all of the remaining analog LPTV’s to convert to digital operation has been suspended indefinitely until a new date is decided upon in an upcoming rulemaking.
In the proposed rulemaking, the so-called “Franken-FM’s” may be granted a way to continue operating after the television portion of its license goes digital. The FCC has opened a comment period asking “whether to allow LPTV stations on digital television channel 6 (82-88 MHz) to operate analog FM radio-type services on an ancillary or supplementary basis”. As the commission states, “a station has proposed using a single transmitter that allows a digital visual and audio stream, as well as a separate analog audio transmission, to simultaneously operate a digital LPTV station on channel 6 and an analog FM radio-type service at 87.76 MHz”.
The proposal also seeks comment on on the potential for a digital LPTV station’s analog FM radio-type service to interfere with or disrupt the LPTV station’s digital TV service and potential of interference to other primary licensees such as existing FM’s at 88.1 or 88.3 MHz. It also is looking to see whether these new audio signals should be subject to the same Part 73 rules applicable to all other radio stations including having to “maintain a main studio and public inspection file, and that the use of such frequencies in border areas be coordinated with Canada and Mexico.”
Among the stations currently operating on 87.7 in this manner are Tribune Media Sports “87.7 The Game” WGWG-LP Chicago, Signal Above Media Spanish CHR “La Nueva 87.7” WDCN Fairfax/Washington DC, Spanish CHR “Mega 87.7” WLFM-LP Cleveland, Sports “87.7 WHBQ” WPGF-LP Memphis, Christian “Love Radio” WVOA-LP Syracuse, and Country “Mustang 87.7” KXKW-LP Lafayette, LA.