AM auction set for Arbitron market #1


The FCC has set a window of October 1-5 for applicants to file for a new AM station in the New York market, specifically for Rockland County at 1700 kHz in the expanded AM band. The filing window is the result of a successful effort by Alexander Broadcasting, licensee of WRCR-AM Spring Valley, NY, to get the FCC freeze on expanded band applications thawed slightly to allow for this one AM auction. Alexander wants to move WRCR from its current 1300 position, with only 500 watts day/83 watts night, to the proposed 10kw day/1kw night on 1700. That, of course, would give it pretty good coverage of the New York Metro, while its signal now is limited to the far suburbs.

The justification, though, for opening this application window is to provide emergency information to folks in Rockland County living near a nuclear power plant. "To ensure that the AM station will serve the critical public safety needs of those residents within the Indian Point Emergency Planning Zone designated by emergency authorities, the Commission mandated that applicants specify a community of license in Rockland County, New York. In addition, the proposed AM facilities must, at a minimum, provide service to (i.e., place a daytime 2.0 mV/m contour and a nighttime interference free contour) over more than 50% of the persons residing in the Rockland County portion of the Indian Point Emergency Planning Zone," the FCC noted in the auction announcement.

RBR observation: It was just a little over a year ago that we reported the success of Alexander Broadcasting in getting the FCC to grant an exception to the freeze. It took support from lots of folks with political clout to push the exception through, after it was first turned down by the Commission. Now it has taken another 12 months just to get to the point of scheduling the auction. The wheels turn slowly, but at least they are turning.