Class C4: Who gets helped and who gets hurt. forums forums Portland Radio Class C4: Who gets helped and who gets hurt.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 19 total)
  • Author
  • #34786
    Andy Brown

    The Ajit Pai FCC didn’t invent this, but they have nurtured its development in recent months under Pai. Class A stations that meet the yet determined qualifications could double their max power (C4 max 12 kW with same HAAT limit of 100 m). On the surface, it sounds reasonable since C3 coverage is about 39 km and Class A is 28 km. In other words, Class A’s could pick up 5 km more coverage.

    The real world result out west where large metro area Class A’s have frequently been upgraded already to C3 or C2 by conglomerates who simply bought the licenses of stations blocking these upgrades and moved them out of the way by either changing frequency, lowering class or moving to the other side of town is that secondary service within the metro (translators, LPFM’s and Class D’s like XRAY) would be impacted. If a Class A station on the fringes of the metro (think Longview, Salem, etc) tries to improve it’s class to C4, translators and LPFM’s that “fit” previously could, under present rules, be bumped. Under present rules, the only protection secondary service has is limited to the bumper showing there is another channel the secondary service could move to. That requirement can no longer be met in many metros as secondary service has proliferated to the point of making it near impossible to find channels that are available for any service whatsoever.

    I’ve made it a point in every conversation I’ve had with secondary service principals over the last 5 years to remind them that they have next to no protection against primary service upgrades. It used to be a lot easier to just find another spot on the dial, open up your box and flip a few dip switches and move up or down the dial knowing your inexpensive broadband antenna wouldn’t care much at all. These days, should Class A stations on the periphery of the market upgrade it would result in less secondary service.

    My personal thoughts are that you don’t need C4’s if the cost is less diversity then we have now which is a lot less then we used to have. On the other hand, many LPFM’s are not meeting their obligations to provide independent opinions and programming and are just providing an outlet for existing programming. Do we really need three stations on Rocky Butte (with identical coverage) being fed with the same programming?

    We already know the NAB would favor giving upgrades to existing Class A’s. Somehow I just don’t see that really helping many of them since they already cover their communities quite well at their existing power levels. It may be that LPFM’s proposed rule making of LP-250 (which would only make LPFM’s coverage equivalent to translators) is going nowhere.


    ” Do we really need three stations on Rocky Butte (with identical coverage) being fed with the same programming?” Why is this allowed? I really don’t think this is what the courts had in mind when they decided the FCC couldn’t have a say in programing!

    Andy Brown

    Welcome to the new definition of “local” programming.

    LPFM’s can share programming, but must run independent underwriting operations and keep separate books. Also, if an LPFM received their license as a result of winning an MX hearing (probably about 2/3 around here) they must abide by the pledge they made to originate at least 8 hours of local programming (for which they receive a comparative “point.”) However, locally doesn’t mean they have to create and produce the programming themselves. So a lot of XRAY’s programming run on an LPFM counts as “local” because it was created locally. Running Thom Hartmann (or any other syndicated stuff), though, not so much.

    So is this really a case of abusing the rules or not? Let’s face reality, the big boys make millions stretching the rules, the translator rules being chief among them. The religioids abuse the ownership rules all the time, filing for new stations under bogus local names but in reality funded by the mothership. Giving the appearance of compliance should be a major in college. So it’s no big deal in D.C. but locally, a lot of folks don’t like hearing what they perceive as the same station on the dial in more then two places. Two seems to be acceptable, not necessarily understood by the general public, but acceptable. When you get XRAY at four places on the dial, that attracts attention.


    I was just referring to the same antenna running the same programing on three different frequencies. The only reason I can think that someone would do that is to block anyone else from using that frequency and that should be illegal if it isn’t already. I suppose it is in the public convenience but misses by a mile for public interest and necessity!


    Don’t know of any Class A’s in the Pdx-Willamette Valley area…some on the Coast-southern/central/eastern Oregon.
    What NW Oregon stations original CPs Class A’s that were later upgraded? KNRK? Guessing…


    I’d be hard pressed to find any Class A’s near here. Everyone’s gone to a Class C-something. Once the FCC eliminated the FM class tables they all just upped their class.


    Fascinating topic. TANX, millimhos!
    Glad posted replies recognize this is a new Broadcast FM Class and not broadcast AM. There has been some confusion a year or two ago. FCC class definitions can be frustrating. C4 would be better identified as A2.
    Near all Class A FM stations are the little guys. Mom and Pop, ethnics, religious. Their traditional practices tend to provide niche programming services. Thumping up to their ERPs to 12 kW gives them better chances to survive. In the old lexicon, C4 may allow these local stations to become more regional. This may add more program choices (diversity) to more listeners.
    As for LPFMs…There is less regulation and even less enforcement. That’s how the monster was created. I can rattle off a dozen or more LPFM stations in Washington, Oregon and northern California which are silent for years yet maintain broadcast licenses. FCC has only two Media Bureau Field Inspectors. One here in Portland and the other sharing office space with the FAA near John Wayne Airport somewhere under Costa Mesa.
    I made suggestions to three LPFMs to make Modification Applications to claim more quiet LPFM frequencies and reduce co- and adjacent interference. For whatever reasons,, they do nothing. To assume LPFMs are a protected class is a mistake when they can’t protect themselves. Prometheus Project makes excellent arguments. Let the Courts decide.

    Andy Brown

    Broadway says:“Don’t know of any Class A’s in the Pdx-Willamette Valley area”

    Survey says:
    KWVA Eugene 88.1
    KAVE Oakridge 88.5
    KMUZ Turner 88.5
    KBVR Corvallis 88.7
    KAJC Salem 90.1
    KWBX Salem 90.3
    KSLC McMinnville 90.3

    Broadway says:“some on the Coast”

    Quite a few actually. Here’s all Class A’s within 250 km (153.3 mi) of Stonehenge.

    Broadway asks:“What NW Oregon stations original CPs Class A’s that were later upgraded? KNRK?”

    As written, your question would require quite a bit of research but Docket 80-90 in 1983 added hundreds of Class A’s around the country. In the immediate vicinity, there were KNRK 94.7, now a C2 and KXJM 107.5, now a C0. The early 80’s was also when the FCC invited all Class D’s to file for Class A status. As far as before the early 80’s, what stations started as Class A’s and upgraded requires going through the History Cards for every station in NW Oregon. Have at it, Broadway!


    KWVA-FM. Oregon Uni-diversity.
    KAVE-FM. Lane County School Di-versity (KRVM-FX).
    KMUZ-FM. Salem Folklore Communi-versity.
    KBVR-FM. Oregon State Uni-diversity
    KAJC-FM. Monmouth-Independence Calvary Chapel.
    KWBX-FM. Corban Uni-diversity / EMF
    KSLC-FM. Linfield [diversity] College.

    No Mom’s and Pop’s or ethnics ’round here. Plenty of OPB NPR, though.

    Andy Brown

    Boise Bill said: “I’d be hard pressed to find any Class A’s near here.”

    That depends on where “here” is. Idaho has about two dozen Class A’s.


    Having Oregon and OSU’s stations as C4’s would actually be pretty cool.

    Andy Brown

    Stations that began their journey in the 1950’s as Class A’s were limited to the channels below:



    This makes sense since the big stations that did start out as a Class A on one of these channels but eventually moved to another channel to become a Class C (out here) or Class B (back east) left these channels vacant. You can see how they ended up as vacant “mid” channels, populated today by translators and LPFM’s. I haven’t found when the above rule was discontinued, but it was published on 11/04/1955 in the Federal Register as: Revision of Regulations [for AM, FM, TV, effective 1/2/1956]

    Lots of stuff to wade through if you’re curious and have time. Go to:

    Above document located at:

    Takes a while to load, big pdf file.


    >>Have at it, Broadway!
    I stand corrected on western Oregon Class A current listings but my brain did remember KNRK. Also remember seeing grid listings of USA FM stations in the 70’s and they all adhered to their classes/power/HAAT etc…lots have changed.


    “C4 would be better identified as A2.” No because “A2” would suggest a lower class than “A” whereas “C4” would be higher. There is a plethora of “Class A” stations still limited to 3KW. It would make sense to rename those stations “Class A2”.


    “Around here” being SW Idaho and extreme Eastern Oregon, all the former Class A’s have upgraded to C-something status. You have to go a bit further into Oregon to find them.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 19 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.