Only last month, we wrote about the proposal of a consulting engineer for an across the board power increase for AM stations so that they could overcome the effects of interference from all the electromagnetic devices now existing in our modern world that, while making our lives easier, interferes with the signal of AM stations, particularly in urban environments. In what seems like record time, the FCC today sent the proponent of that change a letter declining to pursue the proposal. The FCC’s Media Bureau sent Richard Arsenault, the engineer who made the proposal, a letter stating that, after review, the staff decided that the proposal would increase AM interference, in contradiction to the attempts by the FCC to reduce interference on the AM band. Thus, the proposal was dismissed.
When we first wrote about this proposal, we expressed skepticism about how likely such a move was to get buy in from all of the potentially affected parties, including neighboring countries. Nevertheless, we are surprised at the speed of the FCC’s denial of this proposal, and its reliance on an almost 20 year old proceeding which took some initial steps to try to reduce AM interference, but which has essentially been inactive for many years. AM stations are suffering in many places in the country, and the interference identified by Mr Arsenault is real. We hope that, while the FCC has denied this particular remedy, it will continue to look at means to address AM issues. One proposal still out there – moving AM to a rededicated TV channel 5 or 6. Over time, we will see if that proposal, on which the FCC has already received public comment, has any traction at the FCC.