Dielectric Applauds FCC OK of AI-Based FM Pattern Verification


As RBR+TVBR first reported on May 19,  the FCC at its May Open Meeting saw its Commissioners unanimously bless a move that permits the use of AI-driven simulated FM signal pattern modeling.

The vote is entirely the result of an effort pioneered by a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group that took eight months to progress from proposal to regulatory policy.

And, Dielectric couldn’t be happier.

With a 4-0 vote, the FCC signed off on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that permits directional FM antenna modeling with computational methods. The new rule will allow FM broadcasters to transition from physical modeling to what Dielectric calls “a more efficient, economical and accurate simulated modeling procedure.”

The approval, in short, shows that the FCC views computer simulation as an acceptable method to validate the radiation patterns of directional FM antennas. It represents the first directional FM pattern verification rule change in 58 years, and puts FM in the same arena as AM radio and television signal patterns with respect to computer-generated models.

In preparation for the ruling, Dielectric developed AI processes to fully automate the optimization of FM antenna geometry for each project. Dielectric’s AI-based innovations, it says, ” ensure that the geometry for each installation will best fit the broadcaster’s desired radiation patterns while maintaining FCC compliance.”

Dielectric President Keith Pelletier commented, “May 19 was a monumental day for FM broadcasters. The FCC adopting new rules allowing the use of computer modeling changes the rules for FM antenna modeling, which for decades has required broadcasters to build physical models and collect measured data to verify antenna patterns.”

Pelletier added that the rule change will likely ease product to market timelines, helping broadcasters upgrade facilities quickly. In addition, he notes that the increased accuracy and the ability to run infinite patterns to maximize on FCC protections will allow broadcasters ease of mind. “They can now have confidence that they are getting the best possible solution, all while not having to wait the traditional timelines for range testing and optimizing,” he said. “Our trials of AI scripts have proven that we can completely optimize the geometry and not be compromised by time constraints. By simultaneously solving combinations of parasitics, pattern shapers and radiator locations, AI has replaced the slow, inaccurate and limited process of trial and error. We no longer have to settle for being ‘close enough’ when it comes to pattern verification. At the end of the day their listeners will benefit from this rule change. Dielectric sees this change as significant in the history of FM, and is fully prepared to help all broadcasters seek the best possible solution.”

— With reporting by Brian Galante, in Raymond, Me.