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106th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     106-567

======================================================================



 
              RADIO BROADCASTING PRESERVATION ACT OF 2000
                                _______
                                

 April 10, 2000.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Bliley, from the Committee on Commerce, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 3439]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Commerce, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 3439) to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission 
from establishing rules authorizing the operation of new, low 
power FM radio stations, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the bill 
as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Amendment........................................................     2
Purpose and Summary..............................................     3
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     3
Hearings.........................................................     4
Committee Consideration..........................................     4
Committee Votes..................................................     5
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     5
Committee on Government Reform Oversight Findings................     5
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures     5
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................     5
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................     5
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................     7
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................     7
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     7
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................     7
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................     7
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     9

                               Amendment

  The amendments are as follows:
  Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu 
thereof the following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act of 
2000''.

SEC. 2. MODIFICATIONS TO LOW-POWER FM REGULATIONS REQUIRED.

  (a) Third-Adjacent Channel Protections Required.--
          (1) Modifications required.--The Federal Communications 
        Commission shall modify the rules authorizing the operation of 
        low-power FM radio stations, as proposed in MM Docket No. 99-
        25, to--
                  (A) prescribe minimum distance separations for third-
                adjacent channels (as well as for co-channels and 
                first- and second-adjacent channels); and
                  (B) prohibit any applicant from obtaining a low-power 
                FM license if the applicant has engaged in any manner 
                in the unlicensed operation of any station in violation 
                of section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 
                U.S.C. 301).
          (2) Congressional authority required for further changes.--
        The Federal Communications Commission may not--
                  (A) eliminate or reduce the minimum distance 
                separations for third-adjacent channels required by 
                paragraph (1)(A), or
                  (B) extend the eligibility for application for low-
                power FM stations beyond the organizations and entities 
                as proposed in MM Docket No. 99-25 (47 C.F.R. 73.853),
        except as expressly authorized by Act of Congress enacted after 
        the date of enactment of this Act.
          (3) Validity of prior actions.--Any license that was issued 
        by the Commission to a low-power FM station prior to the date 
        on which the Commission modify its rules as required by 
        paragraph (1) and that does not comply with such modifications 
        shall be invalid.
  (b) Further Evaluation of Need for Third-Adjacent Channel 
Protections.--
          (1) Pilot program required.--The Federal Communications 
        Commission shall conduct an experimental program to test 
        whether low-power FM radio stations will result in harmful 
        interference to existing FM radio stations if such stations are 
        not subject to the minimum distance separations for third-
        adjacent channels required by subsection (a). The Commission 
        shall conduct such test in no more than 9 FM radio markets, 
        including urban, suburban, and rural markets, by waiving the 
        minimum distance separations for third-adjacent channels for 
        the stations that are the subject of the experimental program. 
        At least one of the stations shall be selected for the purpose 
        of evaluating whether minimum distance separations for third-
        adjacent channels are needed for FM translator stations. The 
        Commission may, consistent with the public interest, continue 
        after the conclusion of the experimental program to waive the 
        minimum distance separations for third-adjacent channels for 
        the stations that are the subject of the experimental program.
          (2) Conduct of testing.--The Commission shall select an 
        independent testing entity to conduct field tests in the 
        markets of the stations in the experimental program under 
        paragraph (1). Such field tests shall include--
                  (A) an opportunity for the public to comment on 
                interference; and
                  (B) independent audience listening tests to determine 
                what is objectionable and harmful interference to the 
                average radio listener.
          (3) Report to congress.--The Commission shall publish the 
        results of the experimental program and field tests and afford 
        an opportunity for the public to comment on such results. The 
        Federal Communications Commission shall submit a report on the 
        experimental program and field tests to the Committee on 
        Commerce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on 
        Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate not later 
        than February 1, 2001. Such report shall include--
                  (A) an analysis of the experimental program and field 
                tests and of the public comment received by the 
                Commission;
                  (B) an evaluation of the impact of the modification 
                or elimination of minimum distance separations for 
                third-adjacent channels on--
                          (i) listening audiences;
                          (ii) incumbent FM radio broadcasters in 
                        general, and on minority and small market 
                        broadcasters in particular, including an 
                        analysis of the economic impact on such 
                        broadcasters;
                          (iii) the transition to digital radio for 
                        terrestrial radio broadcasters;
                          (iv) stations that provide a reading service 
                        for the blind to the public; and
                          (v) FM radio translator stations;
                  (C) the Commission's recommendations to the Congress 
                to reduce or eliminate the minimum distance separations 
                for third-adjacent channels required by subsection (a); 
                and
                  (D) such other information and recommendations as the 
                Commission considers appropriate.

  Amend the title so as to read:

    A bill to require the Federal Communications Commission to revise 
its regulations authorizing the operation of new, low-power FM radio 
stations.

                          Purpose and Summary

    Low Power FM (LPFM) refers to a new FM Radio service 
adopted by the FCC on January 20, 2000. This new radio service 
is to provide a class of radio stations to serve very localized 
communities, or under represented groups within those 
communities, with a new, localized radio broadcast service in 
order to enhance community-oriented radio broadcasting. 
However, some questions exist as to the amount of interference 
that these new stations will bring to the signals of currently 
operating radio broadcasters.
    The purpose of H.R. 3439, the Radio Broadcasting 
Preservation Act of 2000, is to modify the FCC rules 
authorizing the operation of low-power FM radio stations. In 
response to the new service proposed by the FCC, the bill 
requires Congressional authority for the FCC to eliminate or 
reduce any interference standards on the radio dial. Further, 
the bill establishes a pilot program to study the amount of 
interference that such new low power FM radio stations will 
cause to existing broadcasters under the interference standards 
contained in the FCC's original Order, and requires a report to 
Congress no later than February 1, 2001.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    The FCC's Order (Mass Media Docket No. 99-25) authorized 
two new classes of noncommercial LPFM radio services, (1) LP 
100, with power from 50-100 watts reaching a radius of about 
3.5 miles; and (2) LP 10, with power from 1-10 watts reaching a 
radius of about 1-2 miles. The Order requires that new stations 
must be offered by a noncommercial entity, which may include: 
(1) government or private educational organizations, 
associations or entities; (2) non-profit entities with 
educational purposes; or, (3) government or non-profit entities 
providing local public safety or transportation services. No 
existing broadcaster, or any other media entity may have an 
ownership interest, or enter into any program or operating 
agreement with any LPFM station.
    The FCC's original intent in creating the LPFM service was 
to create a class of radio stations ``designed to serve very 
localized communities or under represented groups within 
communities.'' The Commission found that the recent extensive 
consolidation of radio stations into large commercial groups, 
combined with the financial challenges of operating full power 
commercial stations, has limited the broadcasting opportunities 
for highly localized interests.
    The controversy regarding this new service revolves around 
whether or not this new class of radio stations will cause 
interference to existing broadcasters' signals. Currently, 
protection exists on the FM dial within three adjacent channel 
positions. The new FCC Order would lift those third adjacent 
channel protections in order to allow for the introduction of 
more low power FM radio stations on the dial.
    At the hearings held by the Subcommittee on 
Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protection, the 
Subcommittee heard testimony that contradicted the FCC studies 
that supported elimination of third adjacent channel 
interference protection, as well as evidence that the new LPFM 
stations may interfere with Radio Reading Services carried on 
subcarriers of full-power FM stations. The Subcommittee also 
received testimony that the introduction of LPFM service may 
have a deleterious effect on the service now provided to 
listeners by many small market and minority-owned radio 
stations.
    The Committee concludes that these concerns are well-
justified and that the FCC erred in rushing to adopt LPFM 
rules. The bill, therefore, requires the FCC to revise its LPFM 
rules to maintain preexisting levels of interference 
protection. It further requires the FCC, using an independent 
testing entity, to conduct further studies of the potential for 
interference from LPFM stations and of the impact of LPFM 
service.

                                Hearings

    The Telecommunications, Trade, and Consumer Protection 
Subcommittee met and held a legislative hearing on February 17, 
2000 on H.R. 3439, the Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act. The 
Subcommittee heard testimony from one panel of witnesses, 
comprised of: Mr. Bruce Franca, Deputy Chief, Office of 
Engineering and Technology, Federal Communications Commission; 
Mr. Eddie Fritts, CEO, National Association of Broadcasting; 
The Honorable Harold Furchtgott-Roth, Commissioner, Federal 
Communications Commission; Mr. Charles L. Jackson, CEO, Jackson 
Telecom Consulting; Mr. Kevin Klose, President and CEO, 
National Public Radio; Mr. Dirk Koning, Executive Director, 
Grand Rapids Community Media Center; Mr. David Maxon, Founder, 
Broadcast Signal Lab on behalf of The Lawyers Guild; Dr. 
Theodore S. Rappaport, Professor,Virginia Polytechnic Institute 
and State University; Mr. Bruce T. Reese, President and CEO, 
Bonneville International Corporation; and Mr. Don Schellhardt, 
National Coordinator, The Amherst Alliance.

                        Committee Consideration

    On March 23, 2000 the Subcommittee on Telecommunications, 
Trade and Consumer Protection met in open mark up session and 
approved H.R. 3439, the Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act of 
1999 for Full Committee consideration, without amendment, by a 
voice vote.
    On March 30, 2000 the Committee met in open markup session 
and ordered H.R. 3439 reported to the House, as amended, by a 
voice vote, a quorum being present.

                            Committee Votes

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House requires 
the Committee to list the record votes on the motion to report 
legislation and amendments thereto. There were no record votes 
taken in connection with ordering H.R. 3439 reported. A motion 
by Mr. Bliley to order H.R. 3439 reported to the House, as 
amended, was agreed to by a voice vote, a quorum being present.
    The following amendment was agreed to by a voice vote:

          An amendment in the nature of a substitute by Mrs. 
        Wilson, No. 1, prescribing third adjacent channel 
        protections on the FM radio dial, requiring 
        Congressional authority for future changes to these 
        protections, mandating the FCC to conduct a pilot 
        program administered by an independent testing entity 
        to test whether low power FM radio stations will result 
        in harmful interference to existing FM radio stations, 
        if third channel protections are not in place, and 
        requiring the FCC to report its findings to Congress by 
        February 1, 2001.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee held a legislative 
hearing and made findings that are reflected in this report.

           Committee on Government Reform Oversight Findings

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, no oversight findings have been 
submitted to the Committee by the Committee on Government 
Reform.

   New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee finds that H.R. 
3439, the Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act, would result in 
no new or increased budget authority, entitlement authority, or 
tax expenditures or revenues.

                        Committee Cost Estimate

    The Committee adopts as its own the cost estimate prepared 
by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to 
section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

                  Congressional Budget Office Estimate

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the following is the cost estimate 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 
402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, April 10, 2000.
Hon. Tom Bliley,
Chairman, Committee on Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3439, the Radio 
Broadcast Preservation Act of 2000.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Kathleen 
Gramp (for federal costs), Shelley Finlayson (for the state and 
local impact), and Jean Wooster (for the private-sector 
impact).
            Sincerely,
                                          Barry B. Anderson
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 3439--Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act of 2000

    H.R. 3439 would establish guidelines and procedures for 
licensing low-power FM radio stations. This newly created 
service would allow noncommercial and educational entities to 
broadcast radio signals at 10 watts to 100 watts, subject to a 
requirement that the new station not interfere with existing FM 
radio broadcasts. This bill would direct the Federal 
Communications Commission (FCC) to modify its rules to 
prescribe certain technical and legal standards outlined in the 
legislation. H.R. 3439 also would require existing applicants 
to comply with standards required by the bill and would limit 
eligibility for new stations. Finally, H.R. 3439 would direct 
the FCC to conduct field studies and other experiments on the 
minimum distances needed between channels to prevent 
interference to existing radio stations and translator 
stations.
    Based on information from the FCC, CBO estimates that 
conducting the studies and regulatory proceedings required by 
the bill would cost about $1 million in fiscal year 2001, 
subject to the appropriation of the necessary amounts. We 
estimate that this additional expense would have no net effect 
on discretionary spending, however, because the FCC assesses 
and collects fees from the communications industry to offset 
the amounts appropriated for such expenses. CBO estimates that 
H.R. 3439 would not affect direct spending or receipts; 
therefore pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply.
    H.R. 3439 would impose both a private-sector and an 
intergovernmental mandate, as defined by the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act (UMRA). CBO estimates that the mandate would not 
impose any significant costs, and thus, would not exceed the 
thresholds established by UMRA ($109 million in 2000 for 
private-sector mandates and $55 million in 2000 for 
intergovernmental mandates, adjusted annually for inflation).
    A great deal of uncertainty surrounds the timing and the 
number of expected applicants under FCC's current plan to 
establish low-power FM radio stations. However, based on 
information from industry sources and the FCC's final rule, 47 
CFR Parts 11, 73, and 74, CBO assumes that the FCC would issue 
licenses for up to 400 privately or publicly owned 
noncommercial stations. The FCC plans to accept the first of 
five rounds of applications for the low-power radio stations in 
May and to grant the licenses in September. If H.R. 3439 were 
enacted after September, any licenses that the FCC issued in 
September that do not comply with the bill's requirements would 
be invalid. It is unclear how many licenses would be issued or 
how many of them would be invalidated by the new requirements 
in H.R. 3439, however, the invalidation of any licenses would 
constitute a mandate as defined by UMRA. There would be no new 
mandate as defined by UMRA if the bill is enacted before any 
licenses are issued. CBO estimates that the mandate imposed by 
invalidating licenses would not result in any significant 
costs. Moreover, assuming that the time between the issuance of 
licenses and the enactment of the bill would be short, it is 
unlikely that new license holders would have made any 
significant expenditures, such as radio equipment, associated 
with the licenses.
    The CBO staff contacts are Kathleen Gramp (for federal 
costs), Shelley Finlayson (for the state and local impact), and 
Jean Wooster (for the private-sector impact). This estimate was 
approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant Director for 
Budget Analysis.

                       Federal Mandates Statement

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act.

                      Advisory Committee Statement

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act were created by this 
legislation.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of Rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds that the 
Constitutional authority for this legislation is provided in 
Article I, section 8, clause 3, which grants Congress the power 
to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the several 
States, and with the Indian tribes.

                  Applicability to Legislative Branch

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation


Section 1. Short title

    This section provides the short title of the legislation, 
the ``Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act of 2000.''

Section 2. Modifications to low-power FM regulations required

    Section 2(a)(1) of the bill directs the FCC to modify its 
rules authorizing LPFM service to provide for minimum 
separations between LPFM stations and other stations operating 
on the same channel, or the first, second, or third adjacent 
channel from the LPFM station. The Commission is directed to 
maintain the same level of protection from interference from 
other stations for existing stations and any new full-power 
stations as the Commission's rules provided for such full power 
stations on January 1, 2000, as provided in section 73 of the 
Commission's rules (47 C.F.R. 73) in effect on that date. The 
Committee intends that this level of protection should apply at 
any time during the operation of an LPFM station. Thus, LPFM 
stations which are authorized under this section, but cause 
interference to new or modified facilities of a full-power 
station, would be required to modify their facilities or cease 
operations.
    The Commission is further required to amend its rules to 
bar issuance of an LPFM license to any applicant that 
previously engaged in unlicensed broadcasting in violation of 
section 301 of the 1934 Communications Act (47 U.S.C. 
Sec. 301). The Committee concludes that the operation of an 
unlicensed station demonstrates a lack of commitment to follow 
the basic rules and regulations which are essential to having a 
broadcast service that serves the public, and those individuals 
or groups should not be permitted to receive licenses in the 
LPFM service.
    Section 2(a)(2) of the bill prohibits the FCC from further 
changes to the minimum distance separation rules for FM 
stations, or from permitting commercial entities to be licensed 
in the LPFM service, without express authorization by Congress.
    Section 2(a)(3) of the bill provides that any license 
issued by the Commission for an LPFM station prior to the time 
when the rules are modified pursuant to section 2(a)(1) will be 
invalid if the LPFM station's facilities would not provide to 
other stations the interference protections established in the 
bill.
    The bill directs the Commission to conduct tests of the 
interference effects of LPFM stations. Section 2(b)(1) requires 
that the Commission conduct an experimental program in no more 
than nine radio markets by waiving the minimum distance 
separations for third adjacent channels for the stations that 
are the subject of the experimental program. The Commission 
must authorize experimental licenses for LPFM stations in 
various types of markets which may have differing interference 
environments.
    Section 2(b)(2) mandates the selection of an independent 
testing entity that is not associated with the Commission to 
conduct field tests in the markets in the experimental program. 
The Committee expects there to be a meaningful opportunity for 
the public to comment on the structure and methodology of the 
field tests. The independent entity must, at a minimum, accept 
comments from the public on the extent to which the 
experimental stations create interference, and conduct audience 
listening tests in order to establish the level of interference 
that is objectionable to the average radio listener. In making 
the latter determination, the Committee intends that the 
independent testing entity take into account the effects of 
interference on all kinds of radios in the market, and further, 
to rely, as appropriate, on international and academic 
standards for determining interference.
    Following completion of the work of the independent testing 
entity, the Commission will be required under section 2(b)(3) 
to publish the results of the experimental program and to 
solicit comments from the public. It must then submit a report 
to this Committee and the Committee on Commerce, Science and 
Transportation of the Senate which includes an analysis of the 
experimental program, the field tests, and the public comments 
the Commission received. The FCC's report must also assess the 
impact (using the same standards for establishing the levels of 
objectionable interference established for the independent 
testing entity) which modifying or eliminating the protection 
against third adjacent channel interference would have on 
listening audiences, on incumbent broadcasters (particularly 
minority and small market stations and the economic impact that 
an increased number of LPFM stations would have on those 
broadcasters), on the transition of terrestrial radio 
broadcasters to digital service, on stations that provide 
reading services for the blind, and on FM translator stations 
generally. The report must also include any recommendations the 
Commission may have with respect to modifying or eliminating 
the LPFM rules concerning protection against third adjacent 
channel interference from LPFM stations, and such other 
information or recommendations as the Commission may wish to 
provide.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    This legislation does not amend any existing Federal 
statute.