The concept of allowing AMs to use FM translators under certain conditions to fill in their nighttime service got an unofficial nod of approval from the FCC chairman last week.
NAB has lobbied for the proposal, saying that AM nighttime signal coverage is challenged by ever-increasing man-made noise.
If approved, AMs would be able to air programming on FM translators overnight. The 60 dBu contour of the translator could not extend beyond the 2 millivolt daytime contour of the station.
Asking FCC Chairman Kevin Martin about the issue at the Chairman’s Breakfast, NAB Radio Board Chair Russ Withers said he has an AM station that is licensed at 10 kW day and only 4 watts at night.
Martin said, “It’s a good thing” because translators would help AM broadcasters to provide local content and the commission “is trying to move fast on it.” He said the agency has allowed some AMs to use FM translators at night in some instances with STAs.