August 17, 2005

LPFM Players

There is discussion about commercial players using LPFM frequencies for them to extend their reach. Now im not saying any that its TRN, CanWest, Rhema, Iwi or any other independants that are, or are not doing this.. and if its a good or bad idea.

Food for thought:

Point 1.

If a commercial operator, lets go in theory and say an independent like IXX. They start a second station that is on low power only. Is this a bad idea? Is this misuse of the lpfm airwaves?

Further to that, what happens if the new low power station gains more traction and potential than the full powered station? What if an internal decision is made to swap the stations over, so the lpfm station is now on the full power license and the original full power station is restricted to lpfm broadcasting?

If it were a sound financial decision where a gain would be made by doing this, then using the lpfm spectrum is a great ground for testing your stations listenership in a concentrated zone, even networking it into other regions in NZ if there is a ripe audience there.

Speaking from experience, this has a great deal to do with why George FM is such a successful brand today. It started on LPFM, and migrated
to full power because (a) it found a frequency, and (b) knew there was an audience waiting. This is also why Base FM has great potential. No doubt these guys have other ideas on new formats and will probably want to try out.

This so far doesnt really seem to be a bad thing.

Point 2.

Community pioneers in lpfm like the Flea, Mountainside and IZZ have an entirely different agenda. The format is already developed and based around a lpfm model. Local area broadcasting. Community Radio. Not a "brand" as part of growing a private money making network. Its about one station, one area, one focus.

There is a hell of a lot of merit in community broadcasting. You end up having individual people complimenting you on the station, not once in a blue moon, but every damned day. They appreciate the local issues getting airtime (like dobbing in the addresses of tinny houses near you), local school plays get an interview, promoting a town and country day, and having local business spending with you rather than Classic Hits or More.

Its pure gold radio broadcasting and the big guys can't get in, because they are simply not able to localise such things for these communities, every hour of every day. Its unique to lpfm, and the reason why you won't find these great little stations streaming on the net or on a Sky radio channel.

Is their main concern about: big minded operators using lpfm spectrum to develop potential brands - tying up spectrum which affects areas where there is no gain to their ideas? Is this something they want on MPFM rather than LPFM?, or the other way?

I for one enjoy the radio game. Its about trying new things, developing talent and creating challenges along the way. If your intention is for financial gain to help you pay a mortgage, fine. If you want to run a bedroom jukebox with contact details once every three hours, cool.

Its almost like having to re-elect the purpose of LPFM.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We'll I do agree it's great idea for the LPFM's to use as many LP frequency's to make a community station. e.g. Mountain Side and RHR

That could just about work in a city like Manukau to make the size of an old RNZ.

I'm not sure however, that I agree with letting George/Base etc use them. Anyway, it's already happening.

LPFM's have come into existence because of networking.

I think stations like B/George are already big enough!

The point is to let the little guy have a go.

The thing is, if a station like Mountain broadcasts on all these little F's, just how big are they allowed to get?

It's going to become a very busy dial.

You've got networks on one end, repeating everywhere, and at the other end you've got LPFM's at the other.

Could if get abit crowded.

LPFM's are for the little guy.