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  1. #1

    Default Finally, FCC Adopts AM Revitalization Plan

    From All Access:

    The AM revitalization docket has been adopted by the FCC, including six proposals from the Notice of Proposed Rule Making and asking for further comments on further use of the Expanded AM band, but not opening an AM-only filing window for new FM translators until 2017, instead offering a 2016 filing opportunity for modifying or moving existing translators for AM simulcast use.

    Among the changes are relaxation of daytime community of license coverage rules for existing commercial AM stations (but not new stations or stations being modified to designate a new community of license); relaxation of nighttime coverage rules; elimination of the AM "ratchet rule"; allow wider adoption of Modulation Dependent Carrier Level control technologies; and reducing the existing AM antenna efficiency standards by 25 percent.

    On the AM-only filing window, the Commission wrote, "given other auction commitments, it is not possible at this time to provide such relief in the short term with a new FM translator station auction filing window. However, it is possible to provide short-term relief to AM broadcasters by providing a window where AM stations would be provided greater flexibility to move FM translators..... we direct the Media Bureau to administer in 2016 a process where an AM licensee or permittee seeking to rebroadcast on an FM translator may acquire and relocate one and only one authorized non-reserved band FM translator station up to 250 miles, and specify any rule-compliant non-reserved band FM channel, as a minor modification application. Second, we direct the Media Bureau, in conjunction with the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, to open new FM translator application auction windows, beginning in 2017, for AM stations that do not file a modification application in 2016.... Class C and D stations will be able to take advantage of the modification window and the auction window first, prior to second windows that will be available to all classes."

    Translators approved for a move under the new rule will be subject to the MATTOON Waiver rule that it maintain rebroadcasting of the primary AM signal for four years.
    Open for further discussion are changes in nighttime and Critical Hours protection for Class A AM stations, a rollback of the 1991 skywave nighttime interference calculation rules, changes in daytime protection for Class B, C, and D stations to pre-1991 standards, revising the 2009 rules for locating cross-service fill-in FM translators, modification of partial proof of performance rules and Method of Moments proofs, and enforcement of the rule requiring an Expanded Band AM grantee to surrender the standard band AM station license upon which the Expanded Band station was based. And the Commission opened a Notice of Inquiry on the Expanded Band, with areas of inquiry involving opening the band to new occupants and digital operations and using contour protection standards for allotments, and for relaxing main studio requirements.

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