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For Some AMs, an Earlier (Pre-)Sunrise?

Consulting engineer says it would expand the morning drive of many AM radio stations; FCC is listening

The FCC has opened a comment period for a petition filed by Richard Arsenault. He wants the commission to tweak its rules regarding pre-sunrise authorizations, Part 73.99.

“My petition requests that AM stations be permitted to power up an hour earlier at 5 a.m. with 500 watts as opposed to the current 6 a.m. restriction,” he wrote to RW. “Hopefully we can get a number of broadcasters behind this petition.” Arsenault thinks the change would affect approximately 1,200 AM stations.

Legal firm Fletcher Heald and Hildreth provided context in a recent newsletter summary of the filing, noting that it would affect Class D and certain Class B stations. Arsenault wants to let AM stations on Regional Channels commence PSR operation at 5 a.m.

“He suggests — and it’s hard to contradict him on this — that most listeners who have to wake up by, say, 5:30 won’t set their clock radios to such regional AM stations because those stations’ signals are not receivable at that time,” the law firm summarized. “And the same goes for car radio pre-sets: if the commuter is on the road before 6 a.m., it’s unlikely that he or she will try to tune into an AM still operating with a lame nighttime signal.”

Comments are due by April 26. Read the petition here.