On Friday, the FCC finally took action in its long-awaited AM revitalization rulemaking proceeding. Friday’s order came in three parts – one adopting certain changes to FCC technical FCC rules and also adopting procedures for AM stations to acquire FM translators, a second asking for comment on a series of additional proposals looking to further change certain AM rules, and a final section a more preliminary inquiry looking at longer term policy changes to the AM rules. While not providing everything some AM proponents may have wished for, the order does promise some immediate help for AM stations – including steps to, in the short-term, bring FM translators to many of the AM stations that feel these translators are necessary for their continued survival. Today, we’ll look at that aspect of the order – the proposals to make available FM translators to help AM stations.
As we have written (see our articles here and here), there was a major controversy at the FCC about whether or not to open a window, restricted to AM licensees, letting them file for new FM translators, or to instead provide a process where AM stations would need to buy existing translators to provide FM service for their stations. In Friday’s order, the FCC promised both. Initially, in 2016, it will open a two-part window during which it will waive its minor change rules so as to allow AM licensees to buy an FM translator authorization, and “move” that translator up to 250 miles from its present location, to its AM market to operate on any available FM channel in that market. Later in 2017, it will open a more traditional window for any AM that was not able to acquire a translator in 2016 where that AM will be able to file an application for a new FM translator. There are many details associated with each of these windows.
Continue Reading FCC Adopts AM Revitalization Order – Part 1 – The Upcoming Windows for AM Stations to Acquire FM Translators