The commission is set to vote on the final authorization for IBOC next Thursday, March 22 — its next open public meeting.
According to a notice issued late Thursday, the agency will consider: “Digital Audio Broadcasting Systems and Their Impact on the Terrestrial Radio Broadcast Service (MM Docket No. 99-325).”
A summary of the item reads: “The commission will consider a Second Report and Order, First Order on Reconsideration, and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning service rules and other requirements for radio stations broadcasting digital audio.”
The FCC last had the final IBOC rules on its agenda for the July 2006 meeting; those items were taken off the agenda on the day of the meeting as the commissioners wrapped up a vote on a telecom merger.
At that time, engineering sources believed AM nighttime as well as multicast authorization would be included in the final regs. Currently AMs can only broadcast in HD Radio during the day and stations need an STA to split their digital signals.
One source told RW Online tonight he still believes AM nighttime and multicasting is covered in the item.
Calls to the FCC were not returned at presstime.
IBOC proponents hope FCC passage of real rules for terrestrial digital radio service will entice manufacturers and stations that have been remaining on the sidelines of the HD Radio conversion to join in.
At the NAB Radio Show, when asked about the status of the final regs., Democratic Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein explained he and his colleagues were deliberating appropriate public service obligations for the new digital authorizations and that no technical problems remained to be discussed.
The FCC issued the IBOC item and requested comments on April 15, 2004.
The item is one of 13 on the agenda for March 22.