[Other Topic] FCC'S AM Revitalization Plan

Iceberg

Thread Starter
The No Pain Train
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
282
39
None Your Business
Northpine had a great synopsis of it so I'll just post it here (Its a upper midwest website so its geared towards this area ;)

As part of its AM revitalization plan, the FCC has set its sights on 25 stations that had been expected to sign off years ago, including three in the Upper Midwest: KCFI/1250 (Cedar Falls-Waterloo), KZOT/1180 (Bellevue-Omaha), and WLMV/1480 (Madison).

The stations were among those granted permits to move to the expanded band (1620-1700) during the 1990's, with the plan that the old frequency would sign off after five years. Stations were chosen to move to the expanded band based on the amount of interference that would be reduced by their old frequency leaving the air. Stations in Des Moines, Iowa City, West Fargo, and Sussex-Milwaukee were among those which surrendered their old licenses as planned, but the 25 remaining stations never voluntarily signed off.

The notice of proposed rulemaking calls for a one-year deadline, to begin at a future date, for the 25 remaining licensees to surrender either their original frequency or their expanded band station. (The expanded band counterparts of the stations listed above are KDNZ/1650 Cedar Falls, KOZN/1620 Bellevue, and WOZN/1670 Madison.)

The FCC is also asking for comments on whether there is enough room in the expanded band to add more stations without creating too much interference, and who should be allowed to apply for new stations in the expanded band
 

Iceberg

Thread Starter
The No Pain Train
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
282
39
None Your Business
FCC'S AM REVITALIZATION PLAN: MORE FM TRANSLATOR OPPORTUNITIES
The FCC's AM revitalization plan includes an order that creates two new opportunities for AM stations to get FM translators:

First, a filing window in 2016 will give AM stations a chance to move an existing FM translator up to 250 miles to serve as an AM-on-FM translator. Currently, such moves can be achieved with a waiver (which is limited to a shorter distance) or a lengthy chain-link "hop" consisting of a series of temporary facilities. Only class C and D stations, which are generally less powerful, will be allowed to apply for moves in the first six months, with class A and B stations joining the party for a subsequent three-month window.

Then, there will be a filing window in 2017 for new FM translator licenses, limited to AM stations that didn't get one in the 2016 window. Class C and D stations will again get first crack.

However, these windows may not be of much benefit to AM stations in major markets, where there does not appear to be room for any more FM translators with significant coverage.
 

Iceberg

Thread Starter
The No Pain Train
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
282
39
None Your Business
FCC'S AM REVITALIZATION: STATION UPGRADES AND TRANSMITTER SITING
The FCC's AM revitalization plan includes several orders intended to help AM stations upgrade, find better transmission sites, or reduce operating costs by:

-Eliminating the "ratchet rule" that prevents facility changes for most stations unless they can show the change will reduce skywave interference. Northern Minnesota broadcaster Edward De La Hunt was one of only two commenters to support keeping the ratchet rule, arguing that it protects stations from receiving new interference from other stations, but the FCC found this was a "disproven rationale." The FCC agreed with most commenters that the benefit of upgrading a signal was greater than the cost of interference from another station that upgraded.

-Loosening requirements for a strong signal to communities of license, dropping the required daytime 5 mv/m coverage from 80 percent to 50 percent of the community, and imposing a similar 50 percent standard at night for new or modified facilities. The stated intention of the change is to allow stations greater flexibility to find tower sites and continue to serve communities that are getting physically larger. However, the move could also potentially allow some suburban or exurban stations to move their transmitters closer to larger nearby cities.

-Allowing stations to use a technology called Modulation Dependent Carrier Level, which allows newer transmitters to briefly reduce power during quiet intervals, saving money on the electric bill.

-Reducing the minimum efficiency standard for AM towers by 25 percent in an attempt to allow transmitters to be placed at more compact sites.

The plan also includes notice of proposed rulemaking on several issues, including:

-Dropping all "critical hours" protection for class A stations, which are the large 50kW blowtorches formerly known as "clear channel" stations. Critical hours are the hours after sunrise and before sunset, and about 200 stations are currently required to drop power and/or use a more restrictive antenna pattern during critical hours to avoid interference to class A stations. The requirement is particularly troublesome for stations since critical hours occur during drive time most of the year. The FCC is seeking data to show whether class A stations would really lose any listeners if critical hours protections are dropped.

-Reducing daytime contour protections for class B, C, and D stations, potentially allowing more stations to upgrade in an effort to overcome static and other manmade interference.
 

radio

"On the Air" in MI
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 13, 2007
3,642
856
West Central Michigan
Following this closely, and one of the biggest followers of it is WRDN, Durand, WI.

It's my understanding that from reading the FCC is not in favor of dropping nighttime coverage requirement to 50 percent, though it was suggested. I'll have to re-read, but that goes against the "localism" they want put (finally) BEFORE long distance reception of the "biggies." (Brian, want to jump in on this one?)

Needless to say, not everyone gets everything suggested or that they want with this, but at least SOME attention is going to it. And, before someone jumps in and insults AM, it still reaches millions of people, provides employment, and, in many areas is the PRIMARY mass communications media, so don't even TRY to turn the thread against AM. (Sorry, but I'm tired of fighting that fight with uneducated people.)

it is a fact that a blanket increase in night power for any particular class of station or AM frequency only increases noise overall, however...in some cases, "less is more." In our case, a directional 330 watts as mandated to point north all night is useless IN our town, yet that's the design of the license. By current law, if we were to go "non directional" (night) we have to reduce from a nighttime "license" to what is called an "authorization, and we could only be entitled to 64 watts! This reduces both the coverage, and the station's value. While reducing and moving the night 'stick" actually into town would probably cover the whole town with such low wattage, it would also allow others on 1430 which we protect to UP their power, the end result being NO GAIN for our town.

HOWEVER, if the FCC would allow random logged testing so competing frequencies don't know (and automatically complain) I bet we can prove that 250 watts, (not our usual 330, directional) non-directional is no threat to other stations, and our town would be covered JUST FINE at night on the AM stereo side of our operation! Each time we've had to service our facilities' directional array, we've legally run 250 at night up to the limit of days required before filing a Special Temporary Authority. Each time, there's been NO complaints to us or the FCC by other 1430's, and still, our town was BETTER covered.

I'll be watching this carefully as it proceeds through the FCC and hopefully chatting with Commissioner Pai who is a GREAT supporter of AM broadcasters.

The post is correct. FM translators for AM-only broadcasters won't help where there are not frequencies available in larger markets, and, in my opinion, in NO SITUATION should a station with a larger signal day/night be allowed to "just get one" for the purpose of having it.

If you've got a good day/night signal or even a clear-channel frequency, you don't NEED a translator. It should also be, as earlier proposed that AM's getting FM translators cannot sell them off to other broadcasters as "speculative" income, and that they are paired to the AM for which they are purposed. Perhaps allow sale to other AM stations only and only if they meet reasonable requirements for moving the license. Let's leave the big, speculative "wheelers and dealers" out of this, and concentrate on BROADCASTERS who really need the help. Not sure if they're including this condition in the possible AM window, but there was discussion of this in previous years when the topic was raised.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tampa8 and Iceberg

Mister B

SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
Jun 3, 2008
306
123
El Paso County Texas
There is a religious AM station in El Paso (KELP 1590) that has to cut down to 800 watts at night. They have a FM translator on 95.9 at 10 watts that I used to set for my Mother at night. This always made me think that it is not necessary that most of the FM stations in town are 100,000 watts when a 10 watt station can be received reliably on a good radio.
It was very interesting in the early 1990's when the expanded AM stations started coming on at the new end of the dial. I could get 500 watt stations from Utah or Brownsville, TX easily while driving to work in the morning. It was quite entertaining as I lived in the tiny town of Hatch, NM at the time.
I am glad to see there is still interest in radio, both among forum members and the FCC, and that everything has not been replaced by people holding a phone in front of their face.
 

radio

"On the Air" in MI
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 13, 2007
3,642
856
West Central Michigan
In FM, it's always "height over power." 10 watts on a huge tower can cover what a much higher power can't do at lower height. Terrain is a big thing for FM, too. My town is in a valley, and my FM won't get through many of the old, thick buildings, but the AM does.....the FM travels right OVER the town and goes primarily South with the null being to the North/Northwest because of the tower.
 

Brian1430

Member
Pub Member / Supporter
Oct 26, 2015
11
16
Durand, Wisconsin
Hi everyone..New to group and thanks for add. I have just received confirmation with Commissioner Pai for an interview on November 3rd to talk about the rule changes. If you have any questions you would like me to ask, just let me know. I will be doing one interview for our listeners and will do another more technical in nature for the engineers. I hope to post a link to that interview here or maybe Scott, you will just want me to send you the file.

Brian Winnekins
WRDN Radio
 
  • Like
Reactions: Iceberg

Iceberg

Thread Starter
The No Pain Train
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
282
39
None Your Business
In FM, it's always "height over power." 10 watts on a huge tower can cover what a much higher power can't do at lower height. .
I agree. I've seen stations in Minneapolis "downgrade" power because they move to the IDS building (which is a tall tower)
 

Rolling Joe

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 12, 2012
425
206
Spokane, WA
The Spokane market has an AM on FM translator operating with just 8 watts (Morgan Murphy's KXLY-AM), with the antenna currently located on the roof of a house. I live 25 miles from the translator and get good reception. They have a construction permit to move it to an existing tower with increased height and a new ERP of 80 watts. With that, the signal will rival most of the big guys.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 1, Members: 0, Guests: 1)

Latest posts

Top