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FCC Commissioners Meet NAFB Members

Meeting with farm broadcasters discussed importance of local radio and the issues facing it

NAFB members meet with FCC Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly

Farm broadcasters need AM radio and can feel disconnected when their “go-to” local stations power down at night. That’s what members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting told FCC Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly, at a meeting Monday.

As part of the NAFB’s “Washington Watch Event,” the organization presented to the commissioners the findings of its 2015 Farm Media Usage study as well as pertinent issues to farmers using radio. “Both commissioners were impressed with the NAFB research showing younger and older farmers are relying on traditional AM-FM radio for the farm news, markets and weather information they need every day,” NAFB President Brian Winnekins said in a statement.

Among the issues discussed was the continued need to revitalize the AM band, which tends to be heavily relied upon by farmers, the NAFB said. NAFB broadcasters conveyed to the commissioners that many of their listeners feel disconnected from their communities when their go-to AM station powers down at night. The FCC is currently considering various “revitalization” efforts for the U.S. AM radio band, including changes to day and nighttime interference rules that could affect local and distant night listening.

As a part of the AM revitalization effort conversation, the FCC has raised the possibility of reducing interference protections for big Class A stations in an effort to help smaller local stations. Radio World followed up in an email with an NAFB’s spokesperson, Mindy Oberly, and asked what their policy position on this piece of AM revitalization chatter was. Oberly assured that the NAFB “are not a lobbying organization” so therefore has no policy position on the matter.

A total of 19 representatives of the NAFB met at the FCC.