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Rotella Raises Daylight Saving Concerns With Pallone

“Many, if not most, AM stations will lose an hour of morning drive with no or reduced power”

Broadcasters in New Jersey are pushing Congress to consider the impact on AM broadcasters if Daylight Saving Time becomes permanent.

One suggestion: Give all AM stations a common, earlier “power up” start time that would stay the same all year long.

Paul Rotella, president/CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, wrote to the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee about this issue. The chairman is a fellow New Jerseyan, Rep. Frank Pallone.

Rotella was commenting on a bill, introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio and recently passed by the Senate, that would make DST permanent and do away with the twice-yearly “changing of the clocks.”

“If this legislation is adopted, many, if not most, AM stations will lose an hour of morning drive with no or reduced power,” Rotella told Pallone, “and no one seems to be addressing the issue.

“Simply put, AM ‘day timers’ and ‘directionals’ will not be able to power up in the dead of winter until approximately 8:15 in the morning, thereby losing most of the precious and important morning drive time segment of their broadcast.”

He said the FCC should not force AMs to “power down,” especially if they can show they are not interfering with other signals.

The NJBA also would like FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel to consider a change to the rules to permit that all AM stations have a common, earlier “power up” start time year-round. “This would be similar to the current Pre Sunrise-Authority (PSA) reduced power granted many AM stations, but broader in scope.” Rotella suggests it be set for no later than 7 a.m.

“A simple solution would be for the FCC to offer some form of Pre-Sunrise Authority to most, if not all, daytime or directional AM stations. At least this would allow operation and provide service at reduced power.”