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.”