Caroline Beasley Testifies Before House on LPFM

NAB Radio Board First Vice Chair Caroline Beasley, who also serves as Executive VP/CFO of Beasley Broadcast Group, testified Thursday before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet. Her testimony focused on Low Power FM stations and the Local Community Radio Act.

Good morning Chairman Boucher, Ranking Member Stearns and Subcommittee members, my name is Caroline Beasley. I am the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Beasley Broadcast Group, a family-owned company, which owns and operates 44 radio stations in 11 markets. I am

Beasley testified on behalf of the NAB and its stand that Full Power FM stations and Low Power FM stations can co-exist. "There is a role for each to play within their communities. And there is a process in place to continue licensing LPFM at the FCC. That being said, it is also important to maintain interference guidelines that protect listeners to both services," she said.

Beasley testified that the "hallmark of full power radio broadcasting is service to our communities." "In serving our local communities, broadcasters are concerned about interference. Simply, a listener that experiences interference is a lost listener -- one who will change the channel and stop tuning in. This is a person we may not reach at a critical time during an emergency," she added.

She pointed to the engineering study commissioned by the FCC and the subsequent recommendations to Congress addressing the subject of interference. "A common perception of the report is that interference is simply not a problem and the policy should be changed. The study, however, showed that interference did in fact result from an LPFM station operating on a third adjacent channel," Beasley said. "In view of these findings, the study recommended consideration of a formula or way in which to mitigate the interference."

Beasley noted that, "There is a process in place at the FCC for approving LPFMs, and to date, 865 stations have been licensed. Under existing rules, there is also a great deal of capacity remaining for the licensing of additional Low Power FM stations. Nationwide, there is room for tens of thousands of additional LPFMs. This is possible under the existing third adjacent channel protection policy."

In conclusion, she proclaimed that "Interference is a real concern for local broadcasters and buffer protections are necessary and make sense. Any policy discussion to remove third adjacent channel protection should carefully balance interference risk to both full power and low power FM services."

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