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Pai “Optimistic” FCC Will Act Quickly on AM

Commissioner tells Senate subcommittee reforms can make a “substantial” difference

The FCC is reviewing the 240 or so comments the agency received in its AM revitalization rulemaking effort, and FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai is optimistic the commission will act quickly to implement an initial set of reforms to help the AM band.

Testifying before a subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday, Pai characterized himself as one of the millions of Americans who “still rely on and believe in AM radio.”

“We received many insightful and creative submissions from broadcasters, engineers, and others with an interest in AM radio,” said Pai.

He noted the commission proposed several ways to give AM broadcasters relief in the short term, such as eliminating the “ratchet rule,” which effectively prevents AM broadcasters from improving their facilities and sought public input on letting AM stations apply for new FM translators.

He acknowledged these and other proposals “will not be an immediate panacea” for the difficulties confronting the AM band. However, “based on the conversations I have had with AM broadcasters across the country during the past year, I am convinced that they can make a substantial, positive difference to numerous AM stations,” said Pai.

See Radio World’s “Industry Comments on AM Revitalization” page for some specific comments.