FCC Updates Broadcast Radio Technical Rules

Posted on February 28th, 2022 by

In a Report & Order released February 17, 2022, the FCC updated several of its broadcast radio technical rules that were either outdated or unnecessary.

All but one of the proposed changes in the proceeding were adopted.  The changes included (1) eliminating the maximum rated transmitter power limit rule for AM stations set out in section 73.1665(b) of the rules; (2) updating the noncommercial educational (NCE) FM community of license coverage requirement set out in sections 73.316(c)(2)(ix)(B) and 73.1690(c)(8)(i) to match that used in section 73.515; (3) updating the signal strength contour overlap requirements for NCE FM Class D stations set out in section 73.509(b) to harmonize with the contour overlap requirements for all other NCE FM stations, set out in section 73.509(a); (4) eliminating the requirement for broadcast services to protect grandfathered common carrier services in Alaska operating in the 76-100 MHz frequency band, set out in sections 73.501(b), 74.1202(b)(3), 74.702(a)(1), and 74.786(b); (5) amending the definition of an “AM fill-in area” set out in section 74.1201(j) to conform to section 74.1201(g); and (6) amending allocation and power limitations for broadcast stations within 320 kilometers of the Mexican and Canadian borders, set out in sections 73.207(b) and 74.1235(d), to eliminate conflicting provisions and comply with current treaty requirements.

NAB objected to and the FCC did not adopt a proposed change that would have eliminated the requirement that applicants demonstrate the effect of their FM transmitting antenna on nearby FM or TV broadcast antennas, set out in section 73.316(d).

Stations should be sure that consulting engineers preparing technical portions of applications on their behalf are familiar with the new rules changes.