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GeoBroadcast Proposal Likely to Get a Look at FCC

Notice about geo-targeting via boosters is circulating at the commission

It looks like the efforts of GeoBroadcast Solutions at the FCC are producing some movement.

According to Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, Chairman Ajit Pai has circulated a draft notice of proposed rulemaking to revise the FM booster rules to allow geo-targeting of content via FM booster stations.

Starks is emphasizing the potential benefit to small, women and minority broadcasters. He put out a statement this week saying the proposal would allow the practice on a limited basis.

“The use of geo-targeted content could provide a way for minority-owned stations to better serve their communities by offering hyper-localized content including alternative language news, weather, emergency alerts and advertising periodically during the broadcast day,” Starks wrote.

“For small businesses, this option could enable them to more cost-effectively advertise to a targeted audience while enabling minority-owned FM stations to increase advertising revenue.”

[Read what the chief technology officer of GBS has said about the idea in his commentary “ZoneCasting Would Level the Playing Field for Radio.”]

Starks noted the support of this idea from 21 civil rights advocacy organizations including MMTC, the National Urban League, the Hispanic Federation, the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters and the National Asian American Coalition.

“I am pleased to support this innovative proposal, which could offer a potential lifeline to small, women and minority broadcasters that are struggling to retain their listening audiences and earn advertising revenue at a time when consumers have multiple options for access to information, entertainment, education, and civic engagement.”

Some broadcasters have told the FCC that if it were to allow this practice, it should also allow translators to original content. But the notice only addresses proposals in the GBS petition, Radio World has learned.