At least 376 Class A FM stations, and possibly many more, would be eligible to upgrade to a new C4 power class should the FCC approve such a category.
That’s the estimate of broadcaster Matthew Wesolowski, CEO of SSR Communications, who has pitched the commission on that idea, as we reported.
In calculating how many stations would be affected, he emails RW, “The petition examined an extremely narrow group of 1,286 FM Class A facilities and found that more than 376 (30%+) would be eligible to upgrade to the new C4 power class. This analysis did not consider stations located within border zones, nor did it include states with mixed Zone I/IA/II designations (such as California, for instance). Finally, the analysis tossed out stations that otherwise could have taken a C4 allocation from an alternate community of license (i.e., the new C4 allocation also had to serve the station’s current licensed community).”
Given those parameters, he concludes, it’s likely that “many more FM Class A stations would be eligible for upgrade.”
Wesolowski wants the FCC to create a new power class (ERP of up to 12 kW and antenna height above average terrain of 100 meters) and also asks that the commission, via a “triggering” application mechanism, direct “overprotected” stations that have been “underbuilt” for at least 10 years to construct full facilities or take a Section 73.215 designation. His stated goal is to help small Class As that are required to reduce power, directionalize or abandon upgrade plans in order to overprotect bigger stations and their “future potential” to upgrade.
“This rule change would enable upgrade-minded stations to protect each other to their actual contours, rather than hypothetical maximum facilities, paving the way for hundreds of specific FM service improvements,” he wrote.