The 1,125 AM stations that operate at secondary, very low power levels at night would be among the beneficiaries if the FCC allows AMs to use FM translators as proposed. That’s according to NAB.
The association, filing comments about the translator proposal, said it supports a tentative FCC conclusion to allow AM daytime-only stations to originate programming on FM translators during night hours when they’re not authorized to operate.
“As the commission recognizes, all of these AM broadcasters face unique competitive disadvantages because of their inability to compete during the all-important morning and evening ‘drive time’ hours,” NAB wrote.
“Allowing daytime-only stations and stations that must operate at ‘flea power’ at night to use FM translators will radically improve these stations’ competitive position by significantly improving their service, particularly to their core audiences located within the proposed 2 mV/m or 25- mile proposed restriction. The commission’s flexibility in this regard would be a practical, forward-thinking modification of its rules. In particular, listeners could finally obtain access to the community-responsive programming that AM radio stations deliver during nighttime hours, thereby fostering the commission’s goal of localism.”
Overall, NAB strongly endorsed the rule changes to allow AMs to use FM translators.
See a related Guest Commentary on this topic from January 2007 by AM owner Larry Langford and look for more coverage in the Jan. 16 edition of RW.