The proposed FCC rule change which would allow licensees of directional AM stations to substitute computer modeling for frequent field measurements to verify that a station is operating as licensed has gotten a major plug from the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council, which notes that it will save affected broadcasters a great deal of time and money. MMTC says this matter is of particular importance to minority broadcasters since they are far more likely to be working with just such a station.
MMTC says the requirement to closely monitor signal levels at various points is expensive, even while there is no evidence that falling out of tolerance at a given point contributes to interference. And it’s not just that the measurement itself is expensive, it gets even worse if a problem is discovered. The station “typically must engage the services of an RF consulting engineer to identify the source of the problem, a very costly and time consuming process.” And resolving a problem can cost a great deal more, possibly even requiring a permanent reduction in power or a transmitter location change.
MMTC concluded, “The rules proposed by the Coalition would treat AM antennas like FM or TV antennas. The licensee would purchase an AM directional antenna, perform a onetime computer model to verify its performance, and thereafter operate the AM directional antenna without having to perform costly routine field measurements. Adoption of these rules would provide much-needed regulatory relief and the elimination of a burdensome market-entry barrier to minority-owned AM stations by: saving manpower and time spent on intensive and expensive field strength measurements; saving scarce financial resources otherwise spent on costly RF consultants and field reducing disruptions to the station’s coverage area; and reducing the need for AM stations to operate with an STA at reduced power.”
RBR/TVBR observation: Sounds like a plan to us.