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:
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.
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.