Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts


This Article explores the struggle to establish low-power FM radio stations on airwaves already crowded with full-power stations. Historically, urban markets have provided few opportunities for low-power stations due to third-adjacent channel protections—there are only so many frequencies available in a given city. The Local Community Radio Act of 2010 gives new stations an advantage in the debate by eroding these protections. In October of 2013, the FCC opened the application window for new low-power stations—only the second window since the inception of low-power FM in 2001. During the window, the FCC received 2,800 applications, including eighty-one from Washington State. In an industry dominated by only a few voices, community stations now have the chance to raise their own voices above the din. This Article also explores the technical and practical feasibility of removing second-adjacent channel protections. While such removal faces resistance from traditional broadcasters, the FCC has shown through its decisions that the prevailing trend is in favor of community radio.

First Page