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IBOC Power Increase Backers Ask FCC to Dismiss Opposition

Joint Parties say public had ‘ample’ time to take part in the debate

The so-called Joint Parties — 16 radio groups, four transmission equipment manufacturers and the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium — have asked the commission to dismiss opposition to the FM IBOC power increase.

In comments recently filed with the commission, the Joint Parties say the opposition comments by iBiquity Digital, NAB and NPR in response to requests to overturn the increase “effectively and completely overcome the objections that have been raised” about the digital power increase. The petitions for the full commission to review the Media Bureau decision “mainly raised procedural objections” and should be dismissed, the Joint Parties wrote. Among the broadcasters in the Joint Parties are Bonneville, CBS, Clear Channel, Commonwealth, Cox and Nassau. The transmission manufacturers are Broadcast Electronics, Continental, Harris and Nautel.

The Media Bureau had the authority to issue the increase, wrote the Joint Parties, which also said the decision was based on a thorough record during a two-year period with appropriate public notice and comment periods. “As NPR correctly notes, more than 80 individuals and entities” filed comments with the commission in response to the initial notice on the issue and more than 70 commented on the second notice, according to the Joint Parties.

“When initially establishing the power levels at which digital audio broadcasting were permitted, it was expected that the digital coverage ‘would be at least comparable to analog coverage,’” wrote the group, quoting from the FCC’s 2002 First Report & Order authorizing IBOC as the nation’s digital audio radio technology.

They continued: “Though not every party participating in this proceeding was satisfied by the voluntary digital power increase permitted by the Order, there can be no doubt there was ample opportunity for all interested parties to participate.”