AM Revitalization Rumbles On

Posted on September 28th, 2017 by

The FCC has adopted the latest Report & Order revitalizing the AM broadcast radio service. While mostly technical, this order relaxes several FCC rules related to how stations prove the performance of their stations with authorized patterns. Specifically, the order relaxes the rule for partial proofs of performance on certain directional AM antenna systems, eliminates periodic performance re-certifications, modifies field strength measurements, and codifies the standards under which a new Moment-Method proof of performance is needed. The potential cost savings to AM stations is significant.

The AM Revitalization docket is not nearly over. Still under consideration are:

(1) a proposal to reduce daytime and nighttime protection to Class A AM stations, eliminate nighttime skywave protection of these stations, and eliminate critical hours (two hours pre-sunset/post-sunrise) protection of these stations;

(2) a proposal to reduce co-, first-, and second-adjacent channel protections to Class B, C and D AM stations, and to eliminate third-adjacent channel protection to those stations;

(3) a proposal to modify nighttime root sum-square (RSS) calculations, which values quantify the skywave interference contributions of AM stations to other AM stations and help to calculate nighttime interference-free service, by returning to the pre-1991 method of calculating such values; and,

(4) a proposal to require surrender of one of the authorizations from each of the 25 stations that did not surrender one of its dual standard band-expanded band AM authorizations after the five-year dual-operation period specified by the Commission and the terms of their authorizations. The FCC may move these forward, or propose alternatives in the future.