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WAMU FM IBOC Power Increase Okayed

FCC approves digital power increase from 170 watts to 680 watts

WAMU(FM), Washington, D.C., which has had an STA to operate at elevated IBOC power since 2009, now says the Federal Communications Commission has officially approved the power increase.

The American University licensee has increased its digital power from 170 watts to 680 watts for its digital channels — the flagship WAMU HD1; WAMU’s Bluegrass Country, a bluegrass and Americana station on its HD2 channel; and a news and information on its HD3 channel, featuring international coverage from the BBC. The newer power level is four times the power than when WAMU started broadcasting digitally in May 2004. The station said the digital increase improve coverage in areas that had previously experienced signal dropouts and increase building penetration where previously “listeners had to carefully locate radios and antennas for dropout free reception.”

WAMU was one of the first stations to receive an FCC experimental license to offer multicast channels. With the digital power increase, the station “will be asking for listener feedback on improvements they hear when listening to our multicast channels in office, home, and mobile settings,” stated General Manager Caryn Mathes.