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FCC’s Martin wants to give Class A LPTVs full-power status

FCC chairman Kevin Martin has proposed giving Class A low-power TV stations a chance to gain full-power status with all the regulatory responsibilities that status entails.

If approved, stations would have to comply with all public service obligations, including minimum children’s programming requirements. On the other hand, cable operators would be required to carry the station under must-carry rules. Upgrade requests would be on a case-by-case basis by the FCC’s staff.

Martin said almost one-third of the 500-plus Class A LPTVs are Spanish-language broadcasters. The change, he acknowledged, was a response to requests from Spanish-language broadcasters at a recent Access to Capital conference the FCC hosted in New York.

The item, said Martin, will be on the FCC’s Oct. 15 meeting agenda as a notice of proposed rulemaking, which means the commission can solicit outside comment.