On June 5, 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued its decision in National Association of Broadcasters v. FCC, upholding the Commission's revisions to its low-power FM (LPFM) station rules.
In 2007, the Commission amended its LPFM rules, in part to minimize the potential loss of LPFM stations by bolstering protection rights of subsequently authorized full-power FM stations. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) challenged the amended rules in federal court, arguing that they reduced the protections afforded to full-power FM stations against signal interference in contravention of the Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act of 2000. Particularly, the NAB argued that these provisions, including modification of the interference complaint rule and the new waiver standards for operation on second-adjacent channels, violated the statute.
The DC Circuit disagreed, reasoning that, although Congress prohibited the FCC from eliminating third-adjacent protections, it was silent on the Commission's authority to reduce or eliminate interference protections for second-adjacent channels. The court also rejected NAB's challenge on Administrative Procedure Act grounds, finding that the FCC justified its policy change by discussing changed circumstances that warrant protection of LPFM stations from displacement