NAB, Radio One Weigh In At FCC On MMTC 'Radio Rescue'
October 26, 2009 at 4:22 AM (PT)
The FCC fielded a set of comments FRIDAY on the MINORITY MEDIA AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COUNCIL's "Radio Rescue Petition for Rulemaking," the 17-point plan to change various rules to encourage ownership diversity.
The MMTC filed its petition in JULY, proposing the establishment of an "AM Transition Federal Advisory Committee" to examine moving AM stations to an expanded post-DTV transition FM band, using frequencies from TV channels 5 and 6; eliminating community of license nighttime coverage requirements for AM; removal of "non-viable" FM allotments; extension of time to build FM construction permits; studying the feasibility of a new radio treaty with CUBA; and several other concepts.
The NAB wrote that it "endorses many of MMTC’s suggestions and urges the Commission, as MMTC urges, to examine them further in a rulemaking proceeding. In particular, MMTC’s proposals regarding a number of technical and application-processing related rules should provide increased operational flexibility for local stations, including smaller ones, in serving their communities and listeners. NAB does have concerns about certain of MMTC’s proposals, however, and does not believe they should be the subject of a rulemaking at this time."
Specifically, the NAB opposes the MMTC proposal to move noncommercial FMs and some AMs to an expanded FM band using the bandwidth of TV channels 5 and 6 and objects to proposals to increase the number of LPFMs at the expense of translators for full-power FMs.
RADIO ONE offered its general support for the petition, writing, "RADIO ONE does not necessarily support all 17 of the individual proposals outlined in the Petition, RADIO ONE does support the revision or elimination of regulations that are outdated and/or no longer effective, and encourages the Commission to proceed at this time with a Notice for Proposed Rulemaking to further address this matter."
And the ASSOCIATION FOR MAXIMUM SERVICE TELEVISION objects to the proposal using channels 5 and 6 for expanded FM service, saying that "reallocation could seriously disrupt the public’s television service ... expanded radio operations on these channels could harm viewers trying to receive the signals of digital television stations operating on channels 7-13."