FCC Adopts Rules to Expand AM Use of FM Translators

FCC Adopts Rules to Expand AM Use of FM Translators

In a 3-0 vote, the FCC last week agreed to expand the site locations where FM translators can rebroadcast AM radio stations.  The amended rule provides greater flexibility for an AM radio station to place a rebroadcasting FM translator in a location where it will better serve listeners. An FM translator rebroadcasting an AM station currently must be located such that the 60 dBu contour of the FM translator station is contained within the lesser of (a) the 2 millivolts per meter (mv/m) daytime contour of the AM station, or (b) a 25-mile radius centered at the AM transmitter site.  The FCC proposed to change the standard to the greater of the 2 mv/m daytime contour or a 25-mile radius centered at the AM transmitter site, but with the limitation that the translator’s 1 mv/m coverage contour may not extend beyond a 40-mile (64 km) radius centered at the AM transmitter site. The FCC adopted the proposed rule with one change.  The FCC noted that because the 2 mv/m constitutes an AM station service contour, the 40-mile limit is unnecessary to ensure coverage of an AM station's core market.  As such, the 40-mile limitation was not included in the rule change. The new rule will not become effective until the FCC publishes an announcement indicating that the rule change has been approved by the federal Office of Management and Budget.  That process may take several months. A link to the official FCC Press Release: AM Revitalization Press Release
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