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

If granted, Bud Walters says, the action would have "an immediate, substantive, effect upon the vitality of many AM stations.”
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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rule limiting FM translator site moves to only a few miles and only to adjacent channels “a procedural barrier of outdated public interest benefit.”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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