FCC's Wheeler: AM Revitalization Proposal To Circulate In Coming Weeks
April 13, 2015 at 10:17 AM (PT)
FCC Chairman TOM WHEELER has announced that he will circulate the AM Revitalization proposal to the full Commission in coming weeks. WHEELER posted his intention in a blog post, writing, "I am committed to taking action in this proceeding so that AM radio will flourish while also preserving the values of competition, diversity, and localism that have long been the heart and soul of broadcasting."
WHEELER said he would propose "specific measures to address practical problems and interference-related issues that have long plagued AM stations across the country," including giving stations "more flexibility in choosing site locations, complying with local zoning requirements, obtaining power increases, and incorporating energy-efficient technologies"; allowing stations serving smaller communities to increase coverage while protecting larger Class-A stations’ core service areas; adding stations in the expanded AM band; and increased use of FM translators for AMs (but he voiced some concern that an exclusive application window might not be necessary or fair to open to a single class, and that not enough translators are available).
Commissioner AJIT PAI issued a statement saying, "I applaud Chairman WHEELER’s announcement that he intends to circulate an item addressing AM revitalization in the coming weeks and look forward to reviewing it. In this item, the Commission must provide immediate, short-term help to AM broadcasters and tee up for comment additional ideas to help secure the long-term future of the band. AM revitalization is a cause that has garnered widespread support from large and small broadcasters, civil rights organizations, Democrats, and Republicans. Moreover, there is nearly unanimous support in the record for the ideas put forward by the Commission under Acting Chairwoman CLYBURN’s leadership. I hope that we will move forward on these proposals in the next couple of months."