The proposed AM translator rule change brings up a lot of questions, which the FCC touches on in its notice this week.
The change involves revisions to Sections 74.1201, 74.1231, 74.1232, 74.1263, and 74.1284 of the Rules.
The FCC is asking for comments about the impact on AM, FM, FM translator and LPFM radio services. It wants to know how they should be phased in; whether there should there be limits on AM licensees’ ability to use translators depending on their ownership of FMs in the same market; what is an appropriate limit on the number of translators allowed for an AM and should the number vary depending on the class of the station.
The FCC noted that its rules prohibit a translator from receiving financial support from a commercial FM where the translator’s coverage contour extends beyond the protected contour of the FM; but this does not apply to fill-ins. Should this policy apply to commercial AMs, permitting an AM to broker time over an FM translator in the non-reserved band as a fill-in service?
“Is it appropriate to limit eligibility to own and to broker time over FM translators in the reserved band to AM licensees providing NCE programming service and otherwise satisfying the FM reserved band eligibility requirements?” the FCC also asked.
“Is it appropriate to allow licensees of AM daytime-only and Class C stations to simulcast and/or originate programming over an LPFM station as a fill-in service similar to the proposed FM translator fill-in service during periods during which the AM station is not authorized to operate at its authorized daytime power?”