Cromwell Group Pushes FCC to Ease ‘Procedural Barrier’ for AMs on FM Translators

Bud Walters’ Cromwell Group is asking the FCC to make it easier for an AM to broadcast its signal on an FM translator.

In a waiver request, Walters appealed to Commissioner Ajit Pai, who called for the commission to form a committee in 2013 consider various options to help struggling AMs.

Walters wants to buy an FM translator located in Central City, Ky. on 91.7 MHz from Way Media. He wants to change the city of license to Tell City, Ind. and move the signal to 103.7 MHz in order to rebroadcast WTCJ(AM) on FM. Now, the station broadcasts on 1230 kHz.

In the filing, Walters says the current translator site is within the WTCJ’s 0.025 mV/m interference contour and the move is not to an LPFM spectrum-limited market.

He calls the FCC’s current rule limiting FM translator site moves to only a few miles and only to adjacent channels “a procedural barrier of outdated public interest benefit.”

If granted, Walters says, the action would have “an immediate, substantive, effect upon the vitality of many AM stations. While there are a number of ideas for revitalizing the AM service, most will not bear fruit for many years,” writes Walters. “AM stations in rural and small communities who have been able to acquire an FM translator have discovered that an FM translator is the very best immediate step that the AM station can take to revitalize the AM station’s service to the community.”

Walters’ attorney John Garziglia of Womble Carlyle told Radio World if successful, the waiver request may lead to more work for engineering consultants through AMs seeking an FM translator.


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AM Daytimers and 'graveyard channels' need a quick and easy way to FM; that's why I liked idea of the NTSC TV CH5 & CH6 becoming annexed to the FM broadcast band. If they were to remain in analog, then they could be received on the millions of AM/FM/TV band radios still laying around without waiting for new hardware!
By Sgt. Kinchloe on 11/20/2012
Just so I understand this - the cacophony of the AM band is best-served by inducing cacophony on the FM band. The NAB et. al. made a huge stink of "shoehorning" LPFM stations on the FM dial, but "shoehorning" translators - which are 2.5 times as powerful and can be shorter-spaced relative to full-power stations - is okay?
By John Anderson on 11/19/2012

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