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Changes to Radio Technical Rules Advance

The FCC will take comments on the proposed changes to clean up outdated rules

The Federal Communications Commission has officially opened an NPRM aimed at changing certain technical rules covering broadcast radio.

This was expected; as we reported earlier, a draft notice of proposed rulemaking had been released. The commissioners have now approved it, which means the FCC will take public comment on the proposed changes for final action later. Comment deadlines are not yet set.

Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has said the changes are intended to fix rules that are “redundant, outdated or in conflict with other rules.”

The commission wants to change section 73.1665(b) to remove the maximum rated transmitter power limit for AM stations.

It also wants to change two rule sections that were adopted in 1997 to “harmonize” with the NCE FM community coverage standard in another section, which was adopted later.

A third change would eliminate section 73.316(d), “which we tentatively conclude is an unnecessary burden on applicants.” This involves FM transmitter interference to nearby antennas.

Also, the FCC wants to change a section that sets out signal strength contour overlap requirements for NCE FM Class D stations, “to harmonize the requirements with the more permissive standard applied to all other NCE-FM stations.” It said it wants to be consistent across different NCE FM station classes.

It also wants to delete a requirement that radio stations in the 76–100 MHz band protect common carrier services in Alaska. It said there are no such services remaining. Earlier, existing common carrier operations had been grandfathered in with the understanding that they would gradually move to other parts of the spectrum

The FCC also wants to tweak the definition of “AM fill-in area” in one part of the rules to conform to the requirement in another part. The goal is consistency across the rules for fill-in translator transmitter siting.

Last, the commission wants to amend the allocation and power limitations for broadcast stations within 320 kilometers of the Mexican and Canadian borders to comply with current treaty provisions.

The full proposal is posted on the Radio World website.