FCC holds up rural radio reform


The FCC postponed consideration of a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) designed to streamline procedures for allocating and assigning new AM and FM frequencies in rural areas. No word yet on whether the item will have to wait for the next Commission meeting. It was removed from the agenda shortly before Wednesday’s monthly meeting began.

If there were no policy disagreements among the Commissioners, just some technical details to iron out, the NPRM could be adopted by circulation. There’s been no indication that this is a controversial item. The yet-to-be-unveiled proposal would make it easier to put new commercial AM and FM and non-commercial FM stations on the air in rural areas.

RBR/TVBR observation: Once the NPRM is adopted, it will be interesting to see how the Commission proposes to deal with the issue of how to make rural allocations stay put. Otherwise, quick and easy procedures might allow someone to get a CP for a station in unrated Mayberry, only to have them quickly do some signal engineering maneuvers to move into the rated and more lucrative Mount Pilot market.