Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 6:42am
NONPROFIT GROUPS WANT SHOT AT FM RADIO LICENSES
[SOURCE: Associated Press, AUTHOR: M.R. Kropko]
Nonprofit community groups, schools and churches this year will get their first opportunity since 2000 to apply for licenses for full-power, noncommercial/educational FM radio stations. The Federal Communications Commission stopped taking those applications so it could catch up on its backlog and revise its system for reviewing them. The agency says it expects to begin taking requests again in the fall. Noncommercial/educational stations are usually found at the low end of the FM frequencies spectrum (87.9 to 91.9) and depend on public or institutional support. Because there's a lack of noncommercial space on the radio dial in cities, opportunities more often exist in remote or rural areas. Although the licenses are free, costs a station would face could limit the number of applicants. Legal, engineering and equipment startup costs typically could total as much as $250,000, said Matthew Lasar, a media history professor at University of California at Santa Cruz and editor of a blog on FCC issues. Adding to what could be a flood of new applications are the hundreds of low-power noncommercial stations that could look to increase power and cover a much wider area through a full-power signal.
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