An FCC proceeding of great interest to NRB advanced in recent days. Earlier this year, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler had indicated his interest in taking up the agency’s “Revitalization of the AM Radio Service” proceeding, which was initiated under previous Acting Chair Mignon Clyburn largely at the urging of Commissioner Ajit Pai. After internal FCC negotiations, into which NRB President’s Council members were given a peak through Commissioner Pai’s recent speech at the Capitol Hill Media Summit, the agency released a helpful first step order along with an indication of further moves to come.
"I congratulate FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and all at the Commission who made the release of this order a priority," said Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB. “I particularly thank Commissioners Ajit Pai and Mignon Clyburn for working so diligently over the years on behalf of AM radio's revitalization. This order takes important steps to improve this long relied upon and relevant radio band serving local communities."
NRB's membership comprises numerous AM radio stations, so this effort is of great significance. Indeed, NRB and NRB members had filed comments in this proceeding, which were referenced at a number of points in the text of the FCC’s latest action. Among other recommendations that were adopted, NRB had urged an AM filing window for FM translators and the elimination of the "ratchet rule." Moreover, comments by NRB Board Chairman Bill Blount’s New England-based network, which were supported by NRB and others, appear to have stirred the FCC to seek comment on ideas about what practical changes could be made to help AM stations efficiently satisfy regulations about the siting of their main studios in relation to their communities of license.
The full FCC order is available here.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: October 30, 2015