Some of the interest in seeing IBOC rules published soon is because AMs will be able to extend digital operation to night; but that’s not all.
The rules will codify multicasting so stations won’t need to apply for experimental authority anymore to split their digital channels. The FCC also authorized dual-antenna operation without the need to apply for an STA.
But because the rules haven’t been published yet, experimental authority at some stations is running out; engineers for those stations are wondering about procedures to reapply.
Jan Andrews of NPR Labs shared with me a clarification from the Media Bureau, which states: “Until the effective date, IBOC operation with dual antenna systems requires STA, and operation with multiple program streams requires EA. Thus, to remain in compliance, stations should continue to file requests for extension of these authorities until the effective date [of the new IBOC rules]. Once a timely request for extension is on file, Section 1.62 authorizes continued operation beyond the expiration date.”