The FCC is looking for ways to improve the health of the AM broadcast fleet, and now is your chance to weigh in on the topic.
One of the last acts as the head of the FCC from former Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn was to open a proceeding looking at ways to infect new life into broadcast’s oldest platform.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Matter of Revitalization of the AM Radio Service is now published in the Federal Register, which opens the comment period.
Comments are due 1/21/13 and reply comments are due 2/18/13.
To refresh your memory, here’s what’s in the NPRM:
*One, opening a one-time filing window, limited to current AM licensees and permittees, which will allow each to apply for one new FM translator station tofill in its service area.
*Two, relaxing the AM daytime community coverage rule to allow existing AM broadcasters more flexibility to propose antenna site changes.
*Three, and similar to the second proposal, relaxing the AM nighttime community coverage standards, which will also provide broadcasters, who may have difficulty finding suitable sites, relief for towers and directional arrays.
* Four, eliminating the AM “ratchet rule,” which requires an AM station to “ratchet back” its nighttime signal to reduce interference to certain other AM stations. The rule, while intended to reduce nighttime AM interference, has instead discouragedservice improvements and has apparently resulted in a net loss of interference-free AM, nighttime service.
*Five, permitting wider implementation of Modulation Dependent Carrier Level, or “MDCL” control technologies, which allow broadcasters to reduce power consumption. We propose to allow AM stations to implement MDCL operation by simply notifying the Commission, rather than having to seek experimental authorization or waiver.
*Six, modifying AM antenna efficiency standards by reducing minimum effective field strength values by approximately 25 percent, thus allowing the use of shorter AM antennas.