MMTC goes to bat for steamlined AM monitoring


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.