New FM Translator Interference Rules Near Adoption

Posted on April 29th, 2019 by

The FCC has released a draft order for consideration at its May 9, 2019 meeting that will modify how it considers and processes FM translator interference complaints. While we anticipate a few tweaks to the order before it is adopted, the central proposals will likely remain.

The draft proposes to (i) allow FM translator stations to change frequency to any available same-band channel as a minor change in response to interference issues, (ii) establish a minimum number of listener complaints, proportionate to the population the complaining station serves, that a station would need to submit with any claim of interference, (iii) standardize and codify the required contents of each listener complaint as well as additional information that a complaining station must submit with the minimum number of listener complaints, (iv) establish interference resolution procedures that reduce the involvement of complaining listeners with remediation efforts; (v) implement an alternative process for demonstrating that interference has been resolved using technical methods mutually agreed upon by the complaining station and translator station; (vi) establish an outer 45 dBu contour limit for the complaining station within which interference complaints will be considered actionable; and (vii) establish a minimum number of additional listener complaints that must be included in any waiver seeking to establish a claim of interference outside the complaining station’s 45 dBu contour.

If adopted at the May 9th meeting, the FCC’s new rules won’t immediately take effect. Rule changes require Federal Register publication first, with effectiveness following 60 days later. The FCC’s draft order notes that applications or complaints that have not been acted upon as of the effective date of the new rules will be decided based on the new rules.