One of the proposals that has been floating around the regulatory byways in Washington has been the notion of allowing AM daytimer stations to add night service and otherwise fill-in coverage by rebroadcasting on FM translator frequencies. A bipartisan group of House members has now written to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin in support of just creating such a proposal. AM operators currently need a waiver to use an FM translator.
"By granting a rule change, the FCC will allow AM broadcasters to overcome the all-too-familiar interference of their signals caused by mountains, buildings, computers, flourescent lighting and other conditions," the reps wrote. "The use of an FM translator will also allow AM stations that currently must reduce or turn off power to avoid nighttime interference to deliver a full complement of high-quality service to their audience." They pointed out the potential to add coverage of local events likely to occur after the sun goes down, like political debates and high school sports.
The group, made up of 10 Republicans and five Democrats, includes John Spratt (D-SC, Bart Gordon (D-TN), Ralph Hall (D-TX), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Henry Brown (R-SC), Wally Herger (R-CA), Barbara Cubin (R-WY), Rick Boucher (D-VA), David Davis (R-TN), Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Gresham Barrett (R-SC), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) & Sam Graves (R-MO).
As a reminder we hereby rerun a list provided by Art Sutton which ran 8/28/06 RBR #167, with a six point laundry list of requests to make this proposal work for AMs.
1) We ask that the FCC grant a preference to AM daytimers for translator applications and to full time AMs which have 10% or less total population inside their interference free contour as compared to the 2 mvm daytime contour.
2) We asked that the preference be made retroactive.
3) Here is a big one. We asked that AM stations be allowed to LMA translators they don't own to broadcast their AM signal as long as the translator is within its 2 mvm AM daytime contour.
4) We asked that the FCC allow translator owners outside the AM 2 mvm contour to broadcast an AM signal as long as there is no compensation or relationship to the AM owner.
5) We asked that the FCC not allow local origination on FM translators for 7 years so that AM stations have time to secure FM translators.
6) We asked that the FCC allow Class A FM stations to operate translators inside their 54 dbu contour instead of their 60 dbu contour point out this would allow coverage hampered Class A stations to expand their service areas which are primarily located in rural areas.