Comments filed with the FCC continue to run 100% in favor of the rule change proposed by Matthew Wesolowski to stop protecting the un-built maximum facilities of each FM station allocation. The latest to support protecting only actual on-the-air contours is the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters (MAB).
The MAB noted that the proposal would simply make the contour protection rule for the bulk of the FM band the same as what already applies in the reserved educational portion of the band. “This system has worked well in the reserved portion of the FM band and would provide FM stations with much-needed flexibility to improve service to wider areas, without causing interference to adjacent or co-channel stations,” the state association told the FCC. Click here to see the MAB filing and all others in the proceeding.
According to the MAB, the FCC’s original intention when the rule was adopted 25 years ago was to preserve the option for stations to begin operation with reduced facilities and upgrade later. “Now, however, the FM market is fully mature and stations have had ample time to reach full operations,” the filing stated.
Under the Wesolowski proposal, the MAB said, “service can be improved without changing antenna location, thus easing the perennial pressure on stations to change their communities of license and migrate toward urban areas in search of larger audiences, to the detriment of rural listeners.”
The filing urging the Commission to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to implement the Wesolowski proposal “without delay” was signed by MAB President Jackie Lett.
RBR-TVBR observation: Only six comments have been filed, but every one of them has given a thumbs-up to the proposed change in the contour protection rule. The RBR-TVBR poll conducted several weeks ago also found 72% of respondents saying the rule should be changed because “what hasn’t been built in 25 years will never be built.”
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