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Radio Show: FCC to Act on AM

Acting Chairwoman Clyburn circulating NPRM on AM revitalization

To thunderous applause, FCC Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn told attendees at the opening of the Radio Show in Orlando, Fla., that the commission will open a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on AM radio.

The NPRM Clyburn says she’s begun circulating on the eighth floor of the Portals would do several things, including: opening a one-time application window for AM owners to file for an FM translator to fill-in their service area; relaxing AM daytime rules and modifying rules for antennas and directional antennas as well as relaxing nighttime community coverage standards. The commission proposes to eliminate the so-called Ratchet rule, which she said was supposed to reduce nighttime interference but really has had the opposite effect and the agency would allow wider implementation of MDCL.

Radio World readers know this is a transmission scheme that can reduce a station’s power costs.

Clyburn built up to her announcement, reading like an announcer, “Can the FCC revitalize AM radio? We’ll have an answer at the end of this speech!”

Reaction was positive. Bryan Broadcasting co-owner Ben Downs told RW that opening a filing window so that AM owners can file for an FM translator is “huge” news, and will especially help stations in medium and small markets.

Fellow Commissioner Ajit Pai, who’s championed AM’s cause since last year’s Radio Show, said AM radio is older than the FCC but faces many challenges. He’s heard from AM broadcasters and listeners from across the country asking the FCC to take action. He thanked Clyburn “for taking the first step in responding to those voices.”