AM Revitalization Comments: Urgent and Radical Reforms Needed

Posted on February 10th, 2014 by

The more than 150 parties filing comments in the FCC’s AM Revitalization rulemaking proceeding have made it abundantly clear that they desire changes to the AM rules, and quickly.  While many commenters voiced support for the 6-7 concrete proposals offered by the FCC, including an AM-only FM translator filing window, many more provided specific details and recommendations related to those proposals, and also urged additional, dramatic rule changes.

Those more dramatic suggestions included matters such as (i) the elimination of community of license coverage requirements, (ii) the adoption of Tell City waivers to enable longer distance moves of FM translators, (iii) immediate changes to daytime operating hours, (iv) grants of main studio waivers and reduced staffing requirements, (v) allowance of major change modifications when FM translators are forced off the air by full power stations, (vi) expansion of Mattoon waivers to remove mutual exclusivity and serial hopper restrictions, and (vii) multiple, radical changes to the AM interference rules.  Commenters also stressed the importance of continuing efforts to relax or eliminate AM rules, instead of relying only on this rulemaking and a single AM-only FM translator window for revitalization.

Reply comments are due no later than February 18, 2014.  Based on the proposals submitted, we’ll know soon just how committed the FCC is to revitalizing the AM Band.  Telling indicators will be how quickly the FCC acts on the rulemaking, the scope of the changes adopted, and whether the Commission takes any immediate actions to provide relief outside of the rulemaking proceeding.