FCC Brings New Possibilities To AM Revitalization


Newly minted FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has wasted no time in moving forward on a series of initiatives that will not only put his stamp on the Commission, but also greatly impact radio and television broadcasters across the U.S.

In a “Second Report and Order” distributed Thursday morning (2/2), Pai gave owners and operators of AM radio stations another big “revitalization” boost by signaling the need to act on the FCC’s translator siting proposal “expeditiously.”

Such a move, Pai said, is desirable — “so as to provide these window applicants maximum flexibility in providing service to their communities and nearby areas.”

Current rules state that an FM translator rebroadcasting an AM station must be located such that the 60 dBµ contour of the FM translator station is contained within the lesser of the 2 millivolts per meter (mV/m) daytime contour of the AM station, or within a 25-mile radius centered at the AM transmitter site.

“Many commenters, responding to the Notice of Proposed Rule Making in this proceeding, suggested that this standard is too restrictive,” Pai said. They argued that a rewording of the rules state that the coverage contour of an FM translator rebroadcasting an AM station as its primary station must be contained within the greater of the 2 mV/m daytime contour or a 25-mile radius.

Reasons range from disadvantages to stations with “deep signal nulls,” and land costs.

This means that an FM translator can be located beyond 40 miles from an AM station’s transmitter, citing Univision Radio data regarding where its listeners are.

The protected contour for an FM translator station is its predicted 1 mV/m contour, the revised language states.

The Report and Order will be put up for a Commission vote at its February Open Meeting, set for Thursday, Feb. 23.

The release of the Report and Order is tied to a pilot program, announced Thursday morning (2/2), that is designed to make the FCC “more open and transparent.”


  1. Donald Trump made another wise move to appoint Commissioner Ajit Pai as chairman. Chairmen Pai knows and feels the hardship faced by AM operators and is making positive moves to improve AM Radio long a stalwart service to the American Public.
    We will see many positive changes under the new Chairman and fast.
    Hopefully next will be a relaxation of the interference rules for both day and night.
    Thank you Chairman and Commissioners who share AM revitalization.

    Carl Como Tutera

  2. I am elated over the appointment of Ajit Pai! One of the few Commissioners in my lifetime who “cares” about the vitality of AM radio, AND is actually doing something about it!

    Now, let’s waive that night time city grade coverage entirely, so we can afford to move to affordable tower sites!

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