FCC Nixes AM Power Hike

Says Arsenault's proposal would cause interference
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The Federal Communications Commission says "no" to a general AM power increase.

In April, consulting engineer Richard Arsenault had filed a petition (RM-11599) asking the commission to begin rulemaking to allow AMs that were interested to increase their authorized daytime operating power.

The New Jersey-based consultant sought to reduce degradation of the AM band from interference caused by, among other things, computers, broadband over power lines and fluorescent lighting.

We reported that Arsenault sought a five-year period in which AMs could increase daytime operating power up to 10 times their currently authorized power without formal application to the commission.

The FCC has now denied the petition, saying the proposal is not in the public interest because it would increase the potential for interference between AM stations and would undermine the agency's efforts to improve the AM service.

In the decision, the agency cited MM Docket No. 87-267, in which the commission took actions to revitalize the AM band. That included revised technical standards that were designed to reduce interference in a station's primary coverage area, and allowing some AM interferers to move to the expanded AM band, which the FCC said reduced existing interference and station congestion.

Arsenault has another petition pending, this one calling for earlier start of pre-sunrise operation for some AMs.

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