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FM Translator Filings Jump at FCC

Movement comes as looser rule regarding location takes effect

Anecdotal evidence indicates that more FM translator service applications than normal were filed with the Federal Communications Commission last week. This could be because AM stations with FM translators are now eligible for more flexibility in locating those signals.

As we’ve reported, the FCC’s newly modified rule allows an FM translator to be located anywhere within the AM’s daytime service contour or a 25-mile radius of the transmitter, even if the contour is farther than 25 miles out. The previous rule stated such translators had to be sited within the smaller of its daytime service contour or the 25- mile radius of its transmitter.

A search of the FCC’s database by engineering consulting firm du Treil, Lundin & Rackley shows 157 commercial band FM translator service applications being accepted by commission last week compared to approximately 24 the week prior.

President Bob du Treil Jr. told Radio World it’s difficult to determine what percentage of last week’s translator applications specifically were the result of the new FCC rule, which took effect April 10. “But I am guessing most were. I believe our firm probably had a hand in just a few of those — maybe 5 or 6,” du Treil said.

One example of a request to move an FM translator location utilizing the new rules is W241CG at 96.1 MHz, which is licensed to Southington, Conn. In the technical summary of its FCC application filing last week, licensee Red Wolf Broadcasting Corp. seeks to move W241CG’s facilities and continue its use as a fill-in translator for WNTY(AM).

The application states: “Figure 1 demonstrates that W241CG’s proposed 60 dBu contour is entirely within the greater of the WNTY daytime 2mV/m contour and a 25 mile circle from the WNTY transmitter site as required by fill-in compliance.” The station’s application for the change to facilities was prepared by du Treil, Lundin & Rackley.

The NAB favored this FCC rule change while Prometheus Radio Project, an advocate of low-power FM stations, had asked the FCC for an immediate partial stay of the change. There’s been no word from the commission on whether or how it will act on the Prometheus request.

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