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For immediate release
August 3, 2000
Siriol Evans, NPR
202-414-2300
sevans@npr.org

NPR® Statement: Low Power FM

National Public Radio® (NPR®) President and CEO Kevin Klose issued this statement today -

Last week, Senators John McCain and Bob Kerrey introduced The Low Power Radio Act of 2000, S. 2989, which establishes a mechanism to help resolve interference caused by new low-power (LPFM) stations. That mechanism is a step toward protecting public radio. NPR strongly agrees with Senator McCain's statement that "low-power FM is a secondary service, which, by law, must cure any interference caused to any primary, full-power service."

As the legislative process proceeds, we urge the Senate to consider requiring field tests of LPFM stations prior to their licensing on third-adjacent channels. Further provisions also need to be put in place to protect radio reading services for the blind that serve more than a million regular listeners, and translators now serving millions of Americans in rural areas.

NPR continues to support The Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act of 2000, H.R. 3439, the House-passed LPFM bill. It takes a balanced approach by providing for immediate LPFM licensing while safeguarding existing stations from interference and requiring further testing.

NPR has consistently affirmed its belief that LPFM can co-exist in a complementary, compatible way with America's public radio stations in the future. Regrettably, in its haste to license LPFM stations, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has dropped long-standing technical safeguards designed to protect public radio stations, their translators and the radio reading services for the blind that they provide. NPR has repeatedly asked the FCC to resolve these interference issues. The FCC has yet to address our Petition for Reconsideration and Motion for Stay, which were filed in March 2000.

On July 27th, 2000, a bipartisan group of 12 Members of Congress wrote letters to FCC Chairman William Kennard expressing their concerns about the FCC's persistence in pursuing the licensing of LPFM radio stations without further testing to protect against interference. These letters reflect NPR's view that the public interest can best be served by adequate testing prior to licensing.