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FM Owner Petitions FCC About Commercial FM Upgrades

SSR Communications says hypothetical allotment site requirement should go

Small-market Class A FM station owner Matt Wesolowski wants the Federal Communications Commission to remove certain requirements, saying this would make it easier for commercial FMs to upgrade facilities without affecting the service areas of co- and adjacent-channel stations.

Wesolowski owns WYAB(FM), Flora, Miss., serving the Jackson market.

“What do low-power FM radio, FM translators, FM boosters, noncom FMs, AM radio and television all have in common,” he wrote in comments to Radio World.

“When filing an application for a proposed station, licensees of each of these services need only demonstrate that its transmitter and antenna location(s) do not interfere with the signal contours of neighboring stations.”

However, in the commercial FM world, licensees must also provide a second, hypothetical FM allotment site to the FCC before a minor modification application may be granted. “This second, hypothetical allotment site is often located quite far from the intended antenna location, and is afforded no protection in the FCC’s FM database against competing applications.” He argues his case in a petition for rulemaking to the commission.

“Using the FCC’s own standard contour prediction methodology, a licensee may file a proposal that does not interfere with any other station, but if a fully spaced allotment site is not specified, the application will be dismissed. A fully spaced allotment site may not technically exist, even though the proposal provides no predicted interference,” he states.

Wesolowski says the FCC must eliminate the hypothetical allotment site requirement. “Thousands of lower-class commercial FM radio stations could upgrade to a higher power level were it not for this senseless rule, which is only applicable to the commercial FM service.”

He notes similar proposals have been made to the commission in the past, but have not been approved.