FCC seeking comments on FM contour protection (audio)

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RBR-TVBR First
When he petitioned the FCC to drop protection of maximum theoretical facilities for FM stations and instead protect only the actual facilities, Matthew Wesolowski didn’t know whether the Commission would even give his idea consideration. Well, the FCC is now seeking formal comments on his proposal.


The description of RM11643 in the FCC Public Notice is not very clear to the casual reader. What the petition asks for is that the FCC protect contours in the non-reserved commercial portion of the FM band the same way it does in the reserved educational portion of the band. Read the petition here.

The Public Notice was dated September 28th. The FCC says “interested persons may file statements opposing or supporting the Petition” within 30 days. That’s just a first step. The Commission would then decide whether it is warranted to move to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

Wesolowski told RBR-TVBR he’d not heard from the FCC, but he was elated when his Petition for Rulemaking was put out for public comment.

Matthew Wesolowski:

Wesolowski is frustrated that he can’t upgrade WYAB-FM Flora, MS (Jackson market) because he has to protect the theoretical maximum facilities of an adjacent channel station which shows no signs of ever wanting to tack another 126 meters of metal to the top of its 324-meter tower. If he only had to protect the actual facility, WYAB would be able to upgrade its signal.

“No other aural broadcast service, including AM, noncommercial educational FM, low power FM, FM translator, or FM booster is required to demonstrate the existence of a second hypothetical location in which a facility could operate, and as such, Petitioner respectfully requests that the Commission eliminate this burden on FM non-reserved band licensees and permittees,” Wesolowski said in his Petition for Rulemaking.

An online poll of RBR-TVBR readers found substantial support for Wesolowski’s proposal to protect only actual FM facilities. “Yes, what hasn’t been built in 25 years will never be built” was the answer chosen by 72% of respondents to the poll.

RBR-TVBR observation: What will be most interesting to watch for is the response from the largest radio group owners. They have the most turf to protect – but it is turf they’re not using. On the other hand, they also have the most to gain from the proposed change, since they would be able to upgrade many stations – and they have the financial resources to do it.

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