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AM Proposal Comments Due in January

The agency proposes short- and long-term strategies for improving the senior band

Public comments are due to the FCC by Jan. 21 on the AM revitalization Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

Reply comments are due by Feb. 18.

Perhaps most importantly in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the agency seeks public input on a special window in which to allow AMs to seek new FM translators.

In the item, the agency proposes short- and long-term strategies for improving the AM service. In the short term, the commission proposes eliminating the so-called “Ratchet” rule, which effectively requires that an AM broadcaster seeking to make facility changes that would modify its AM signal demonstrate that the improvements would result in reduced skywave interference to other AMs. The FCC and AM experts agree the rule has actually had the opposite effect. The FCC also tees up modifications to the daytime and nighttime community coverage rules for existing AMs, something engineers and owners have long proposed.

Also up for discussion is allowing more implementation of Modulation Dependent Carrier Control technologies, which save energy costs, along with modification of AM antenna efficiency standards.

Federal Register publication triggered the comment deadlines to MB Docket 13-249. The FCC released the AM revitalization NPRM Oct. 31.