The FCC voted for final authorization for IBOC Thursday.
The decision, when it takes effect, would allow all AMs to go digital at night. Audio Division Chief Peter Doyle told RW Online there would be a procedure established to handle interference issues, should those occur. The decision also gives a green light to multicasting, so broadcasters no longer need to apply for experimental authority to multicast.
The digital conversion is not mandated and the item allows for FM translators, boosters and LPFMs, if technically feasible, to go IBOC as well.
The vote was 5-0. Democratic commissioners objected to portions of the rule, but voted for the item. Democrats Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein wanted to establish whether additional public interest obligations should apply to the digital channels and to multicast channels used for subscriptions channels in particular. The FCC is seeking comments on this item.
All the commissioners called the digital radio vote historic, and Commissioner Robert McDowell noted that his colleagues really could have had the rules done at last July’s meeting.