In a recent decision, the FCC adopted new rules for AM station proofs of performance that make the process much simpler. We wrote about this proposal when it was advanced, here. The order adopted a week ago allows stations installing new series fed AM directional antennas to avoid the time-consuming and expensive process of doing a full proof of performance, by instead using a computer modeling process plus a limited number of actual measurements. Comments filed in the proceeding convinced the FCC that this process would be as accurate as the full proofs that had previously been required for new AM stations and for many changes to existing stations. Providing this option to AM broadcasters should greatly simplify and expedite the process of completing AM construction and the licensing of such stations.
As part of this order, the FCC also asked for further comments to discuss whether the construction of communications towers – even those that do not otherwise fall under FCC jurisdiction because, for instance, they are too short to require tower registration which is primarily triggered by FAA considerations – near to AM directional towers should also be required to use this same computer methodology to determine the effect that new construction would have on the nearby AM station. If so, would parties proposing such new construction have to notify nearby AM stations, or just some subset of AM operators (such as those that are themselves operating under program tests). If notification is to be required, how much advance notification should be required? Comments on this proposal are due 30 days after this order is published in the Federal Register.