Report: FCC Using IBOC To Review Some Basic Regulations
July 5, 2007 at 6:04 AM (PT)
Surprising many observers, the FCC used the IBOC proceeding to review some basic regulations for all stations when it published new digital rules, reports RADIO WORLD ONLINE. The commission is revisiting the appropriateness of unattended operations for all stations and how that affects the transmission of EAS alerts in connection with its review of public interest requirements for IBOC.
While the FCC now has published basic service rules and fundamental public interest obligations for digital channels, it seeks comment on additional public service obligations in a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. These new obligations could extend beyond the digital channels to affect main analog channels.
If the FCC were to cut back on the number of hours a station may operate unattended, and possibly require 24/7 staffing, the change would apparently affect all stations and could have a large impact on facilities, especially those with undersized staffs in small markets.
In 1987, the commission eliminated a provision of the main studio rule in which stations were required to originate a majority of non-network programming from the main studio. It did so in part based on technical advances in program production and distribution, it said.
In 1995, in response to improvements to monitoring equipment for stations and transmission facilities, the agency authorized unattended operations and expanded the ability of stations to control and monitor station technical operations from remote locations.
Now the agency is asking whether "changes in remote operation impacted the requirements that the commission should adopt in this area."