The ability to serve on the board of an LPFM (Low-Power FM) station while also owning or being a part owner of an AM or FM radio station can be subject to certain restrictions and considerations. It’s important to be aware of potential conflicts of interest and FCC regulations that govern such situations:
- Cross-Ownership Rules: The FCC has regulations that restrict cross-ownership of multiple media outlets within the same market. These rules are designed to promote media diversity and prevent undue concentration of media ownership. Depending on your specific location and the ownership structure of the AM or FM station you’re interested in, there may be restrictions on your ability to simultaneously serve on the board of an LPFM station.
- Local Market Concentration: The specific restrictions on cross-ownership can vary by market size and the type of media outlets involved. For instance, ownership of both an LPFM station and an FM station in a small market may be less restricted than in a larger market.
- Conflicts of Interest: Even if FCC regulations permit such dual roles, it’s essential to consider potential conflicts of interest. Serving on the board of one station while owning or having a significant stake in another can raise ethical and practical questions about fair competition, editorial independence, and the public interest.
- Ownership Percentage: The level of ownership you have in the AM or FM station can also be a factor. FCC rules consider the percentage of ownership in determining cross-ownership restrictions.
- Seek Legal Advice: Given the complexities of FCC regulations and the potential for legal and regulatory issues, it’s advisable to consult with an attorney experienced in media law and FCC regulations. They can provide guidance specific to your situation and ensure compliance with all applicable rules.
- Disclosure: Transparency and disclosure are crucial. If you do have an ownership interest in another station, it’s important to disclose this information to the board of the LPFM station and to the FCC as required.
In most cases, if you serve on the board of an LPFM (Low-Power FM) station, you are generally restricted from simultaneously holding a position on the board of another LPFM station or having an attributable interest in a full-power AM, FM, or TV station. Exceptions may exist, such as when the LPFM station is licensed to a university, which also operates a full-power station and the LPFM station is student-run, sharing the same board of trustees.
Additionally, you may have an ownership stake in up to two FM translators under certain conditions. These translators must be commonly owned by the LPFM station’s organization, carry the LPFM station’s primary audio (typically the HD1 stream for digital LPFM stations), have a service contour that overlaps with the LPFM station, and be located within 20 miles of the LPFM station (or 10 miles in Neilsen Audio markets 1 through 50).
To simplify, in most scenarios, if your name appears on an ownership report for a full-power station, it is generally not permissible for you to also serve on the board of an LPFM station.
Please note that this information is not legal advice. Nexus Broadcast recommends consulting with a qualified attorney if you have any further questions or require legal guidance regarding your specific circumstances.
Ultimately, the permissibility of serving on the board of an LPFM station while owning or being part owner of an AM or FM station will depend on the specific circumstances, including the location of the stations and the ownership structure. Consulting with legal experts and FCC specialists is recommended to navigate these complexities successfully.