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Commentary: Nothing Less Than 100 Watts, Please

In revitalization comments, AM owner argues for regulatory focus change

Edward P. De La Hunt These comments were sent to the Federal Communications Commission relative to Docket 13-249, “Revitalization of the AM Radio Service.” Edward P. De La Hunt Sr. is owner of De La Hunt Broadcasting. The De La Hunt family owns nine stations in northern and central Minnesota, including KPRM(AM) in Park Rapids and three other AMs.

I would like to comment on the proposed rulemakings.

I have no problem with exclusivity of translators for AM applications; however, in the same vein, I would propose that no AM radio station, regardless of its class, should operate at any time with less than 100 watts. The 6/10/13 20-watt post-sunset powers are absolutely ridiculous.

Broadcast on the AM band should serve its local community and with some stations operating with 3 watts, all that has to happen is someone in the neighborhood turns on a fluorescent light, and it’s all over. With 100 watts, at least there will be some chance of local service being provided. Skywave interference will increase somewhat, but the increase in local service will far outweigh the interference created.

With regard to modification of AM antenna efficiencies, this would be an absolute step back to the dark ages. If anything, we should be striving to increase antenna efficiencies by improving the radiation, lowering the angle of radiation, which in itself will improve nighttime service and lower nighttime interference.

Nighttime and daytime coverage standards could be relaxed and possibly adjusted to the point where the local service becomes the first choice in making any judgments on individual cases but not on an overall basis.

The wider implementation of modulation dependent carrier level control technologies not only should be further implemented, but should be encouraged, as it not only improves coverage, but helps conserve electrical power.

An additional comment, from myself, is that clear-channel skywave protection should be reduced from 750 miles down to 450 miles, allowing some stations to improve their nighttime coverage.

Also, IBOC should be abolished, as it does nothing but destroy nighttime AM service to stations that are adjacent to an IBOC station. It is even a daytime problem for adjacent stations when the IBOC station is high power.

In addition, the FCC should return to enforcement of incidental radiation and encourage radio manufacturers to include digital noise blankers in their radios.

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