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No New FM Translator for This AM Station

Commission says STAs are only for existing FM translators, not new ones

The FCC says “no dice” to Money Matters Radio for an STA to operate WESO(AM) in Massachusetts on a new FM translator.

The case is noteworthy because it involves an FM translator that hasn’t yet been authorized. The commission has been approving some waivers to allow AMs to operate on FM translators, as a closely watched rulemaking on this issue remains pending. Right now, FM translators are prohibited from rebroadcasting AM station’s signals. Stations receiving waivers are doing so for existing FM translators.

The FCC last week denied a petition for reconsideration filed by Money Matters Radio which sought to overturn an earlier Audio Bureau decision. In September 2007, the company asked for an STA so it could build a new FM translator. It wanted to improve nighttime service.

The STA was denied; the Bureau told MMA the NPRM language specified it could only approve STAs in cases where the FM translator was already authorized.

MMR said the FCC was misinterpreting the language and that approving its STA would be in the public interest because it would allow for nighttime broadcast of high school sports. The FCC said in its decision last week that MMR did not raise new issues and that the language allowing STAs to be granted only in cases where there are “already-authorized FM translators” is pretty clear.