MMTC Gets Its Wish: Class C4 Gets An NPRM


One year and one week ago, MMTC President Emeritus and Senior Advisor David Honig requested that the FCC move forward with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on a 2014 plan that would create a new class of FM stations.

This would allow hundreds of Class A stations to upgrade.

On Monday, the NPRM was circulated by the Media Bureau that asks whether the Commission should create a Class C4 radio station.

As first reported in January 2017 by RBR+TVBR, the new class of FM stations would broadcast at 12Kw from a reference antenna height of above average terrain of 100 meters.

“Under this proposal, it’s likely that hundreds of Class A FM stations could upgrade to Class C4 FM stations,” Pai said.

The push for an NPRM some two years after the discussion of a Class C4 station first arose received renewed vigor by Pai at the 2016 Radio Show in Nashville, where radio industry professionals are presently gathered for the 2018 Country Radio Seminar (CRS).

In a letter dated Jan. 31, 2017 sent to Chairman Pai, Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, and Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, Honig said the Class C4 proposal would allow nearly 800 Class A stations to jump in power from 6kw to 12kw, and “allow hundreds of stations of all classes to improve their technical facilities without impacting the protected signal contours of neighboring stations.”

MMTC and SSR Communications Inc., owner of Jackson, Miss.-market Class A Talk WYAB-FM 103.9 in Pocahantas, Miss., co-authored the proposal.

Speaking early Tuesday at the MMTC’s ninth annual Broadband and Social Justice Summit in Washington, D.C., Pai remarked, “MMTC has also been a long-time proponent of creating a new class of FM radio stations, called C4. This reform could allow hundreds of Class A FM stations to broadcast with increased power. In particular, MMTC has noted that this “could help small and minority-owned stations gain access to capital and strengthen their foothold in the broadcasting arena.” This idea has been sitting around for a while—long before I got into this position. Well, I can now say that it’s standing up.”

The NPRM seeks public input on whether to amend Commission rules to create Class C4 FM radio stations.

Pai’s comments came ahead of appearances from Republican Commissioners Brendan Carr and O’Reilly, and attendance via video by Clyburn.