AM Radio Revitalization Rulemaking On Its Way

Posted on October 4th, 2013 by

Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn announced during her remarks at the recent NAB Radio Show that she has circulated a proposed rulemaking to consider ways the FCC can revitalize the AM radio service.  The reference to the rulemaking being “circulated” is to a procedure that precedes the release of a written rulemaking proceeding, where the proposal is circulated for comment and input from the FCC’s sitting commissioners and their staffs.  We would not be surprised if the NPRM is released in October.

The draft proposal will clear include something that AM stations have been seeking for sometime – a special filing window, open to AM stations only, for new FM translators.  While the FCC’s rules currently allow AM stations to use FM translators in limited circumstances, many stations have been frustrated in trying to obtain an existing FM translator or permit and moving it underneath their AM pattern.  The tidbits of information available at this point do not provide much information on how the FM translator window would work, or its viability given the LPFM / FM Translator “co-equal” status created recently by Congress.

Other proposals suggest that the FCC will take a hard look at its interference and day/nighttime rules.  We’ll keep you posted on when there is a formal proposal for comment.