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Push Expands for ‘Tell City’ FM Translator Request

No one has opposed proposal to move the translator farther than currently allowed, NAB tells commission

There’s a renewed push to persuade the FCC to grant a waiver to The Cromwell Group to rebroadcast the WTCJ(AM), Tell City, Ind., signal on an FM translator.

AM owners are watching the case, because if the commission does grant the waiver that would set a precedent and make it easier for AM owners to find an FM translator to rebroadcast their AM signal on.

Cromwell owner Bud Walters petitioned the commission last fall to allow him to complete a one-step move of an FM translator from Central City, Ky. to Tell City and to change the translator’s channel from 218 to 279. However to do that, he needed a waiver; currently, translator moves are limited to a minimal miles radius calculation.

The WTCJ application proposes that if an FM translator’s transmitter site is within the AM station’s 0.025 mV/m contour and a move is not proposed into an LPFM spectrum-limited market, the AM licensee may replace that FM translator’s current service with a move of the FM translator to serve the AM station as its primary station, provided the move is in compliance with other FCC technical rules, according to Womble Carlyle’s John Garziglia.

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council came out in favor of the proposal in February and now, so does NAB and Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth. In a memo to NAB EVP/General Counsel Jane Mago and Associate General Counsel Larry Walke that was shared with the FCC, FHH attorneys Frank Jazzo and Harry Cole told the commission current law does not prevent the agency from granting the application. The NAB, meanwhile, told the FCC that no one has objected to the waiver request, nor filed a competing application and “there is ample spectrum in the market to accommodate future applications.”