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FCC Seeks More Comment on Geo-Targeting

Gives industry a chance to weigh in on the field data from station technical reports

Image from GBS filing of test results at KSJO(FM) showing the multipath family of curves
Image from GBS filing of test results at KSJO(FM) showing the multipath family of curves. Click image to read the report.

The FCC wants to know what the industry thinks about recent trials of geo-targeting using FM boosters. Those trials were conducted at stations in California and Mississippi.

You’ll recall that in December of 2020 the commission opened a notice of proposed rulemaking on a proposal from GeoBroadcast Solutions to modify the rules to allow geo-targeting in certain limited circumstances, the idea being that stations could then super-serve very specific parts of their coverage areas with particularly relevant advertising and information.

Comments and replies on that were to be filed by March of last year. So why open another round of comments?

The Media Bureau answers: “Since that time, GeoBroadcast Solutions sought, and the bureau has approved, experimental authority to test the technology in San Jose, Calif., with station KSJO(FM), and in Jackson, Miss., with station WRBJ-FM.”

As part of that authority, GeoBroadcast Solutions was required to file technical reports in the commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System about the testing it conducted for both stations.

[Related: “FCC Receives New Zonecasting Data”]

“Those reports contain detailed technical discussions about the operation of GeoBroadcast Solution’s booster technology, its compatibility with the Emergency Alert System and its impact on digital FM broadcasts. This technical information was not available to the public at the time comments and reply comments were due.”

With that in mind, the FCC says it invites public comment on these test reports as well as other documents filed in the proceeding since mid-March of last year.

The new comments will be due 30 days after this FCC announcement appears in the Federal Register. Use the commission’s ECFS to file. Reference MB Dockets 20-401 and 17-105.

[Read the KSJO technical report.]

[Read the WRBJ technical report.]