FCC Denies Request for Further AM Booster Experimental License

Posted on April 29th, 2016 by

A broadcaster in Puerto Rico, previously authorized to use AM synchronous boosters under the FCC’s experimental rules, has been denied a request for a third booster station that would have extended beyond the AM station’s .5 mV/m groundwave contour.

Ultimately, the FCC characterized the request for another booster as an attempt to circumvent its rule authorizing new AM stations, noting that the experimental authorization for the other two boosters had existed for a long period and that nothing new would be gained by adding a third booster. The FCC’s Media Bureau had previously denied the request, and the applicant appealed to the full Commission. The Commissioners denied the request by a Memorandum Opinion.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, a strong proponent of the FCC’s ongoing AM revitalization efforts, issued a statement clarifying that while he voted to deny the appeal, other AM stations should not take that to mean that the FCC was stifling efforts at innovation in the AM band.

In Commissioner Pai’s words, “given its unique factual context, this Order should not deter any AM broadcasters who wish to perform legitimate experiments with AM synchronous boosters from coming to the Commission. If broadcasters wish to test whether synchronous transmission systems can help improve signal quality within their coverage area, I believe that the Commission should facilitate such experiments as we search for ways to revitalize the AM band.”