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Friday, September 01, 2006

A Hurry Up -- Waivers to Allow AM Rebroadcasts on FM Translators

August 24, 2006 marked the conclusion of the 30 day time period in which comments were accepted by the FCC on the NAB's Petition for Rulemaking asking that the FCC's rules be changed to allow FM translators to be a fill-in service for AM broadcast stations provided no portion of the 60 dBu contour of the FM translator exceeds the lesser of either the 2 mV/m daytime contour of the AM station or a circle with its center at the AM transmitter site and a radius of 25 miles.

Particularly interesting were the Comments filed by the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters with assistance from this office. In those Comments, the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters asked the FCC to adopt a blanket waiver policy so that any AM broadcaster and FM translator who fell within the parameters of the NAB's proposal could immediately commence rebroadcasts on FM translators.

The proposed FM translator rule changes, if adopted, can be expected to take a year or more to come to fruition. The Tennessee Association of Broadcasters proposal would offer immediate benefits to AM broadcasters and the public. Such waivers could be quickly granted in time for the winter months in which many AM stations suffer signal problems or must leave the air as the sun goes down in mid-afternoon.

Already at least one station has requested an individual waiver request, and it can be expected that more will follow. Hopefully, the FCC will quickly act in a favorable manner on the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters waiver proposal.

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