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Expanded-Band Owner Objects to AM Surrender Plan

Sturgis Falls Broadcasting is one of 25 expanded-band stations that still hold old licenses too

A radio owner with two AM frequencies in Iowa is not happy with part of the FCC AM revitalization plan that would require it to turn one of them back in.

Sturgis Falls Broadcasting is licensee of KCFI(AM) at 1250 kHz in Hudson, Iowa, as well as expanded-band station KCNZ(AM) at 1650 in Cedar Falls.

When the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules 25 years ago licensing stations in the expanded band, the broadcaster says, it constructed KCNZ in an effort to improve AM service to Cedar Falls. Now, as Radio World has reported, the FCC thinks the time has come to complete its original plan and require all stations that migrated to the expanded band to surrender either their original or their “new” licenses. Many already have but 25 never did, though the requirement to do so was never changed.

The FCC is taking comments about this as part of a further notice of proposed rulemaking.

Sturgis Falls Broadcasting wants to keep both licenses. In a filing Sturgis said if the FCC proceeds with its plan it would seek a waiver of the surrender requirement.

The group requests that KCFI be given an opportunity to reengineer under the commission’s new AM technical revitalization rules by installing a new tower and transmitter at either the station’s current location or a new location in an effort to to retain established service. Sturgis said it would address any subsequent issues of congestion or interference.

[Read the Sturgis letter.]

“We are in favor of licensee retention of dual authorizations,” Sturgis Falls said in its filing. “As a licensee that still holds dual standard band/expanded band authorizations, we would be in favor of and would request a waiver of the surrender condition and prohibition against the sale of one of the authorizations, as we have made much investment in the facilities of both AM stations.”

In its filing, Sturgis Falls detailed its efforts to bring AM service to a market, and reiterated its investment in the facilities of both of its AM stations. Like other stations on the dial, Sturgis Falls wants the opportunity to take advantage of the commission’s technical revitalization rules in order to retain established service — rather than eliminate a station outright, it said in its filing.

Comments on the Revitalization of the AM Radio Service, searchable in the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System under MB Docket 13-249, are being accepted until March 21.

A Tale of Three X-Band Stations (Feb. 2016)

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