“Not so fast,” the Federal Communications Commission tells AM stations hoping to get a jump start on applications for FM translator modifications.
As we’ve reported, the 2,000 or so U.S. AM radio stations that rebroadcast on FM translators are going to have more flexibility in locating their FM translator signals.
But now the Media Bureau has issued a public notice “to clarify the processing of FM translator modification applications or notifications proposing to rebroadcast AM stations.” The commission reminds FM translator permittees and licensees that “applications or primary station notifications relying on these rule changes may not be filed prior to the effective date” of the second report and order; and that date has not yet been announced.
This means that any application or notification that has been submitted but does not comply with the current (stricter) siting rule will be dismissed. According to the notice, this includes applications that seek a waiver of the order’s effective date. Ultimately, the FCC believes this processing policy will ensure fairness and equal opportunity for all AM stations.
The pending change is to a rule that says an AM station must place a rebroadcasting FM translator within the smaller of its daytime service contour or the 25-mile radius of its transmitter. The new rule will allow the translator to be located anywhere within the AM’s daytime service contour or within a 25-mile radius of the transmitter, even if the contour is farther than 25 miles out.