Revision of the FM Translator Interference Rules Underway

Posted on April 30th, 2018 by

It’s been a few decades since the FCC last considered and adopted rules governing FM translator interference, partly because full power and FM translator stations were largely content to leave well enough alone. But the proliferation of cross-service FM translators has created a little congestion on the FM dial (you think?), and numerous complaints of interference have clogged the FCC’s inboxes. Some of those complaints – still unresolved – have been pending for months (and some for more than a year). So, what’s an agency to do? Perhaps a rule change?

That’s right. Months after the NAB and others filed to suggest that it was time to review the FM translator interference rules, the FCC recently took its first concrete action toward reviewing those rules, publishing and circulating a draft notice of proposed rulemaking that invites comments from all parties. This fact sheet and draft NPRM gives a precise summary of some of the proposals being considered. Channel changes, a minimum number of listener complaints, and other ideas are on the table. Keep in mind that FM translators are a secondary broadcast service and are therefore subject to interference from and cannot cause interference to full power stations. That means they can be shut down and displaced. Make your voice heard on this one by carefully reviewing the draft NPRM and filing comments when it is adopted.