FCC Releases AM Revitalization First Report and Order

On  April 13, 2015 – 11:04 AM Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman released a post on the FCC blog Let’s Move on Updating the AM Radio Rules”.

On October 21, 2015 the FCC adopted MB Docket No. 13-249 “FIRST REPORT AND ORDER, FURTHER NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULE MAKING, AND NOTICE OF INQUIRY” which was release October 23, 2015. MB Docket No. 13-249 in PDF FCC-15-142A1

On October 26, 2015 the FCC released DA 15-1215  “MEDIA BUREAU INITIATES AM REVITALIZATION OUTREACH EFFORTS; MODIFICATION WINDOW PROCEDURES AND REQUIREMENTS ANNOUNCED”. DA 15-1215 in PDF DA-15-1215A1


Below is the text in full of both documents:

Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
Before the
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of
Revitalization of the AM Radio Service
)
)
) MB Docket No. 13-249
FIRST REPORT AND ORDER, FURTHER NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULE MAKING, AND
NOTICE OF INQUIRY
Adopted: October 21, 2015 Released: October 23, 2015
Comment Date: (60 days after date of publication in the Federal Register)
Reply Comment Date: (90 days after date of publication in the Federal Register)
By the Commission: Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn, Pai, and O’Rielly issuing separate
statements.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Heading Paragraph #
I. INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 1
II. BACKGROUND…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3
III. FIRST REPORT AND ORDER………………………………………………………………………………………………. 7
A. FM TRANSLATOR WINDOWS EXCLUSIVELY FOR AM LICENSEES AND
PERMITTEES ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 7
B. MODIFY DAYTIME COMMUNITY COVERAGE STANDARDS FOR EXISTING
AM STATIONS…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 18
C. MODIFY NIGHTTIME COMMUNITY COVERAGE STANDARDS FOR EXISTING
AM STATIONS…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 26
D. ELIMINATE THE AM “RATCHET RULE” ……………………………………………………………………. 31
E. PERMIT WIDER IMPLEMENTATION OF MODULATION DEPENDENT CARRIER
LEVEL CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES……………………………………………………………………………. 35
F. MODIFY AM ANTENNA EFFICIENCY STANDARDS………………………………………………….. 41
IV. FURTHER NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULE MAKING …………………………………………………………. 49
A. MODIFY AM PROTECTION STANDARDS………………………………………………………………….. 49
1. Change Nighttime and Critical Hours Protection to Class A AM Stations………………………. 49
2. Change Nighttime RSS Calculation Methodology……………………………………………………….. 58
3. Change Daytime Protection to Class B, C, and D Stations ……………………………………………. 63
B. REVISE RULE ON SITING OF FM CROSS-SERVICE FILL-IN TRANSLATORS …………… 66
C. MODIFY PARTIAL PROOF OF PERFORMANCE RULES…………………………………………….. 69
D. MODIFY RULES FOR METHOD OF MOMENTS PROOFS …………………………………………… 71
E. REQUIRE SURRENDER OF LICENSES BY DUAL EXPANDED BAND /
STANDARD BAND LICENSEES ………………………………………………………………………………….. 75
V. NOTICE OF INQUIRY ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 78
A. UTILIZATION OF AM EXPANDED BAND…………………………………………………………………… 78
B. RELAXED MAIN STUDIO REQUIREMENTS……………………………………………………………….. 85
VI. PROCEDURAL MATTERS…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 89
A. First Report and Order. …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 89
1. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis …………………………………………………………………………… 89
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
2
2. Final Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis………………………………………………………….. 90
3. Congressional Review Act………………………………………………………………………………………….. 92
B. Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making…………………………………………………………………………… 93
1. Filing Requirements…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 93
C. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis……………………………………………………………………………… 100
D. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis…………………………………………………………………………………. 102
V. ORDERING CLAUSES……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 104
APPENDIX A – Final Rule Changes
APPENDIX B – Proposed Rule Changes
APPENDIX C – Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
APPENDIX D – Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
APPENDIX E – List of Commenters and Reply Commenters
APPENDIX F – AM Stations With Dual Standard Band / Expanded Band Licenses
I. INTRODUCTION
1. In this First Report and Order we adopt several proposals to assist AM broadcasters to
better serve the public, thereby advancing the Commission’s fundamental goals of localism, competition,
and diversity in broadcast media. Specifically, we adopt the six proposals set forth in the NPRM, some
with modifications.
1
In the Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making (“FNPRM”), we set out further
proposals, suggested by commenters in this proceeding, that we believe will further enhance the viability
of the AM broadcast service. We also release a Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”), in which we pose questions
regarding further utilization of the AM Expanded Band, as proposed by certain commenters.
2. Given other auction commitments, however, it is not possible at this time to open an
immediate exclusive application window for AM stations to acquire a limited-purpose fill-in FM
translator station. Accordingly, we announce that we will promptly open a filing opportunity for the
acquisition of, and modification and/or relocation of, existing FM translator stations to be used to
rebroadcast AM stations, as a means of providing short-term relief to AM broadcasters desiring it. To the
extent that an AM broadcaster that has not applied in a modification window wishes to apply for a new
commercial FM fill-in translator as proposed in the NPRM, we will afford that filing opportunity in 2017.
II. BACKGROUND
3. AM radio has traditionally served as a vital source of news and information, as well as a
critical lifeline in times of emergencies and man-made or natural disasters. Commenters in response to
the NPRM highlighted merits of the AM service.
2
AM listenership has nevertheless declined with the rise
of newer, higher fidelity media alternatives, as well as the rise in environmental noise and interference
from man-made sources. While the Commission has taken several steps to assist AM broadcasters over
the last decade, the last comprehensive review of the AM service was undertaken over 25 years ago.
Given the erosion in AM listenership and the above-noted technical challenges to our oldest broadcast
service, the Commission initiated this proceeding to propose rule changes designed to improve the AM

1
Revitalization of the AM Radio Service, Notice of Proposed Rule Making, 28 FCC Rcd 15221 (2013) (“NPRM”).
2
See, e.g., Broadcast Warning Working Group (“BWWG”) Comments at 2 (“Though AM is often called ‘low tech’
by proponents of broadband and digital technologies, it is important to remember that when we most need
information that is critical to our survival, the simplicity and reliability of AM radio are major assets and enhance
emergency resources.”); National Association of Broadcasters (“NAB”) Comments at 2-3 (“AM radio remains a
critical source for news, talk, sports, foreign-language and religious programming. Many AM stations provide
unique, niche formats as a means of distinguishing themselves from competitors. The overwhelming majority of
all-news/talk and all-sports programming is found on the AM band . . . and AM broadcasting is often the only radio
source for listeners living in and traveling through rural areas.”).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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service. The Commission also solicited suggestions of other measures that should be taken to revitalize
the AM service and assist the approximately 4,700 licensed AM stations in serving their listeners.
3
4. Most commenters supported the proposals set forth in the NPRM; many urged us to
undertake additional efforts. There were several ideas put forward by commenters on which we can act in
short order. Some proposals are clearly beyond the Commission’s purview, and are therefore not
addressed here.
4
Other proposals, such as those calling for a complete revamp of the AM rules, may have
merit but require further work and study before they can be implemented.
5. There are, however, several commenters who suggest that the end result of any
proceeding involving the AM service must be, in the terms of the Catholic Radio Association, “not to
revitalize it, but to transition it.”
5
Specifically, CRA and others believe that the medium wave AM band
is too beset by environmental noise and other forms of interference to remain a viable communications
medium, and instead advocate that we open up the 76-88 MHz band (VHF television Channels 5 and 6) to
relocate current AM stations to that band to operate as FM broadcasters.
6
Despite the calls for this
solution, we cannot consider it at this time. First, as we announced in the Further Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking and Report and Order in the 2014 Quadrennial Review proceeding,
7
migrating AM services
to VHF Channels 5 and 6 has the potential to interfere with our implementation of the Congressional
directive to reassign television stations following the upcoming Incentive Auction process.
8
Second, as
several commenters note,
9
AM radio has distinct advantages over other media during times of disaster and
emergency, including the wide area coverage of some stations.
10

3
Broadcast Station Totals as of September 30, 2015, News Release (Oct. 9, 2015),
http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2015/db1009/DOC-335798A1.pdf.
4
For example, suggestions that AM needs better and more local content. We can generally only assist authorizing
the technical facilities necessary for AM broadcasters to serve their communities, not mandate the content they
offer. See, e.g., Christopher Gay (“Gay”) Comments at 1-2; DAIJ Media (“DAIJ”) Comments at 1-2, 10; Joseph E.
Talbot (“Talbot”) Comments at 2; Les Rayburn Comments; Steve O Comments. See also 47 U.S.C. § 326
(“Nothing in this Act shall be construed to give the Commission the power of censorship over . . . any radio station,
and no regulation or condition shall be promulgated or fixed by the Commission which shall interfere with the right
of free speech by radio communication.”).
5
Catholic Radio Association (“CRA”) Comments at 7.
6
See, e.g., Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (now the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet
Council) (“MMTC”) Comments at 18-20; Broadcast Maximization Committee (“BMC”) Comments at 1-7; AM
Station Owners (“AMO”) Joint Comments at 6; Doug Wilber (“Wilber”) Comments; George Arroyo (“Arroyo”)
Comments at 1-2; Grant County Broadcasters (“GCB”) Comments at 3; N. Al Sergi (“Sergi”) Comments at 1;
National Alliance of AM Broadcasters (“NAAMB”) Comments at 10-11; Scott Todd (“Todd”) Comments at 1-2; S-
R Broadcasting (“SRB”) Comments at 1; Barry Magrill Comments at 2; .
7
2014 Quadrennial Review – Review of the Commission’s Broadcast Ownership Rules and Other Rules Adopted
Pursuant to Section 202 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Report
and Order, 29 FCC Rcd 4371 (2013) (“2014 Quadrennial FNPRM/R&O”).
8
Id. at 4516.
9
SeeMissouri Broadcasters Association (“MBA”) Comments at 1-3; Named State Broadcasters Associations
(“NSBA”) Comments at 1-3; First Nickolaus Leggett Comments (“First Leggett Comments”) at 2; Robert Meuser
(“Meuser”) Comments at 5.
10
See, e.g., BWWG Comments at 2 (“After Action Reports from recent major disasters show the family car radio
with its dashboard AM radio and/or a solar or magneto powered emergency radio receiver is often the only or the
major source of emergency public information for those at risk.”) (emphasis in original); NAB Comments at 3 (“In
many parts of the [Hurricane Sandy] storm zone, AM radio was the only service available to connect the public with
first responders.”).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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6. In this document, we first address the six proposals set forth in the NPRM. Following
that, in the FNPRM, we will list six commenter-generated proposals, seeking further comment on how
they might best be implemented. We also put forth our own proposal regarding whether to modify the
rule regarding siting of fill-in FM translators used to rebroadcast AM stations. We further initiate the
NOI, in which we seek input regarding how best to continue use of the expanded AM band, 1605-1705
kHz, including the types of stations that should operate there and the technical parameters under which
they should operate. Additionally, in the NOI we seek comment on whether, and in what ways, we
should relax our rules and policies on maintenance and siting of AM main studios.
III. FIRST REPORT AND ORDER
A. FM TRANSLATOR FILING WINDOWS EXCLUSIVELY FOR AM LICENSEES
AND PERMITTEES
7. Background. In the NPRM, the Commission recognized the successful deployment of
cross-service FM translators by AM stations since the Commission’s 2009 authorization to use FM
translator stations to rebroadcast the signal of a primary AM station on an FM frequency.
11
Over 900 AM
stations are currently re-broadcasting their signals over FM translator stations. Many of these are
translator stations acquired or leased by the AM station owners from third parties, who in some cases
have been required to relocate the translator in order to comply with the current AM coverage rule. As
discussed in the NPRM, in many cases, such a move constitutes a major change to the FM translator’s
facilities under our Rules.
12
Because such major changes may be made only during specific announced
filing windows,
13
AM stations acquiring such cross-service translators must either file multiple minor
modification applications, “hopping” the translator incrementally until it can be located as a fill-in
translator – a practice disfavored and typically denied by the staff – or must seek a waiver, known as a
“Mattoon waiver,” allowing a major-change relocation of the FM translator without waiting for a filing
window.
14

  1. Some commenters whose AM stations have acquired FM translators for fill-in signal
    coverage state that they have enjoyed significant improvements in service.
    15
    Other commenters have
    expressed a desire to use such translators for fill-in service, or to provide some nighttime service

11
Use of FM translators is permitted on a “fill-in” basis, that is, the cross-service FM translator may not be used to
extend the AM station’s coverage: the 60 dBµ contour of any such translator station must be contained within the
lesser of (a) the 2 millivolts per meter (mV/m) daytime contour of the AM station, or (b) a 25-mile radius centered at
the AM transmitter site. Amendment of Service and Eligibility Rules for FM Broadcast Translator Stations, Report
and Order, 24 FCC Rcd 9642, 9658 (2009) (“2009 Translator Order”). See 47 C.F.R. § 74.1201(g).
12
A major change is defined as proposing a translator frequency more than three channels from its currently
authorized transmitting frequency that is also not an intermediate frequency, or a physical move to a location at
which the translator’s proposed 1 mV/m contour does not overlap with its currently authorized 1 mV/m contour. 47
C.F.R. § 74.1233(a)(1). In addition, any change in frequency relocating an unbuilt station from the non-reserved
band to the reserved band (band reserved for noncommercial educational stations), or vice-versa, is considered
major.
13
See 47 C.F.R. § 74.1233(d)(2)(i).
14
John F. Garziglia, Esq., Letter, 26 FCC Rcd 12685 (MB 2011) (“Mattoon Waiver Ruling”), as described in para.
6 (granting waiver of major change rule, 47 C.F.R. § 74.1233(a)(1)).
15
See, e.g., Edward Henson (“Henson”) Comments; Mark D. Humphrey (“Humphrey”) Comments at 2-3; Peter E.
Schartel (“Schartel”) Comments at 1; Clear Channel Communications, Inc. Comments at 3. During the pendency of
this proceeding, Clear Channel Communications, Inc., changed its name to iHeart Media + Entertainment, Inc.
(“IHM”).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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otherwise not available to them due to the need to protect other stations.
16
As noted in the NPRM,
however, the minor change contour overlap requirements for relocating FM translators, coupled with the
fill-in coverage area restrictions on locating FM translators for use by AM broadcasters, limit the use of
currently available FM translators for individual AM licensees.
17

  1. The Commission therefore proposed in the NPRM to open a one-time filing window,
    open to AM licensees and permittees only, to apply for and receive authorizations for one new FM
    translator station per AM station, for the sole and limited purpose of re-broadcasting the AM signal to
    provide fill-in and/or nighttime service. The Commission further proposed that such translator stations
    must strictly comply with the existing fill-in coverage area technical restrictions on FM translators re-
    broadcasting AM stations, that any translator acquired through this one-time window could be used only
    to re-broadcast the signal of the AM station acquiring it, and that such a translator could not be assigned
    or transferred except in conjunction with the commonly owned AM primary station.
    18
    The Commission
    sought comment on this proposal and its limitations.
  2. Commenters believe that an exclusive window for AM permittees and licensees would
    provide the most immediate relief to those broadcasters,
    19
    and would “greatly benefit the AM service and
    its ability to serve the public.”
    20
    IHM notes the “positive impact” a cross-service translator has on AM
    listening, as well as the ability to introduce listeners – especially younger listeners – to the AM format.
    21

Additionally, IHM and other commenters discuss the fact that translators offer some AM stations the
ability to provide more consistent and continuous service throughout their service areas.
22
Small market
and smaller broadcasters also emphasize the positive impact that a cross-service translator would have on
their service.
23
Some of those supporters discuss the limitations of this proposal, i.e., that allowing an AM
station to broadcast on an FM translator does not, per se, revitalize the AM band.
24
Opposing

16
See, e.g., Dale Adkins (“Adkins”) Comments at 2; Edward C. DeHart Comments; Henson Comments; Mariana
Broadcasting, Inc. (“Mariana”) Comments at 5-6; Porter County Broadcasting Holding Corp. (“Porter County”)
Comments at 1-2.
17
NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 15226-27.
18
Id. at 15227.
19
See, e.g., Schartel Comments at 1; Wright Broadcasting (“Wright”) Comments at 1. Commenters generally
supporting the proposal include MonsterMedia (“MM”) Comments at 2-3; National Association of Broadcasters
(“NAB”) Comments at 5-6; National Public Radio (“NPR”) Comments at 3-4; Porter County Comments at 2;
Khanna & Guill, Inc. (“K&G”) Comments at 2-3; Crawford Broadcasting Co. (“Crawford”) Comments at 2-3 (also
supports window filing for major changes to existing fill-in translators); DAIJ Comments at 1-2; New England
Public Radio (“NEPR”) Comments at 2-3; National Translator Association (“NTA”) Comments at 2-3; Mt. Wilson
FM Broadcasters, Inc. (“Mt. Wilson”) Comments at 1-2; IHM Comments at 3-4; MMTC Comments at 4; Cavell,
Mertz and Assoc. (“Cavell”) Comments at 1-2; duTreil, Lundin, & Rackley (“DLR”) Comments at 1-2; Hatfield &
Dawson (“H&D”) Comments at 2; Mariana Comments at 5. See also Letter to Ms. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary,
from James L. Winston, Esq., counsel for the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, at 1 (Oct. 31,
2014) (accessible at http://appsint.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment/view?id=60000976354) (suggesting two filing windows: a
first for Class C and D AM stations, followed by a second for Class A and B AM stations).
20
Bob Mark Allen Productions Comments at 1-2.
21
IHM Comments at 3.
22
Id. See also Steven Chanin Comments (noting that his Class D station must sign off during drive time in the
winter months; a translator would enable it to implement a consistent program schedule year-round).
23
See, e.g., Cub Radio Comments at 2; Porter County Comments at 2.
24
See, e.g., H&D Comments at 2; DAIJ Comments at 1-2; Cavell Comments at 2; Mark Heller (“Heller”)
Comments at 2; Burt Weiner (“Weiner”) Comments at 4; T.Z. Sawyer Technical Consultants, LLC (“Sawyer”)
(continued . . . .)
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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commenters argue that the proposal would not revitalize the AM band,
25
would drive listeners away from
AM radio,
26
or would be inconsistent with Commission policy because it would overcrowd the FM band
with more translators.
27
A number of commenters question whether spectrum remains for significant FM
translator licensing.
28

  1. Discussion. Although there was strong support for the AM-only new FM translator
    auction filing window proposed in the NPRM, on re-examination we find that there are issues that call
    into question whether we should limit our approach to opening such a window as proposed. Chief among
    our concerns is the time it would take for such a window to open. Commenters in this proceeding discuss
    the need for immediate relief.
    29
    But given other auction commitments, it is not possible at this time to
    provide such relief in the short term with a new FM translator station auction filing window. However, it
    is possible to provide short-term relief to AM broadcasters by providing a window where AM stations
    would be provided greater flexibility to move FM translators. This window would take advantage of the
    availability of existing FM translators that can be obtained by many AM broadcasters seeking to enhance
    their local service. Based upon a staff analysis of applications available in CDBS, since 2003, the number
    of FM translator stations has increased by 65 percent (from approximately 3,800 to approximately 6,300).
    This number is likely to grow in the next 12 to 18 months, as more FM translator permits are awarded
    from the Auction 83 filing window, to the point where there could be up to twice the number of
    translators that existed in 2003. Further, the secondary market for FM translator stations is robust:
    almost 4,000 translators have changed hands since the 2009 Translator Order was released, of which over
    600 were sold to AM stations for use as cross-service fill-in translators. A staff review of “stand alone”
    FM translator assignment applications granted over the past year has determined that the vast majority of
    stations have sold for under $100,000, and a substantial majority of those for less than $50,000. We find
    that providing AM broadcasters with a greater opportunity to benefit from this secondary market will
    provide them with tangible and immediate relief.
  2. Accordingly, as set forth below, we adopt a two-pronged approach to enable more AM
    stations to acquire FM translators. These steps will provide AM broadcasters with substantial assistance
    while the Commission continues to work on addressing the AM band’s long-term technical challenges.
    First, we direct the Media Bureau to administer in 2016 a process where an AM licensee or permittee
    seeking to rebroadcast on an FM translator may acquire and relocate one and only one authorized non-
    reserved band FM translator station up to 250 miles, and specify any rule-compliant non-reserved band
    (Continued from previous page)
    Comments at 2-3 (supports proposal “with reluctance” and recommends strict conditions, including linking
    translator to AM primary station, with translator authorization canceled if AM primary’s license is canceled,
    revoked, or relinquished; prefers AM priority in general translator window).
    25
    See, e.g., Roger Bouldin (“Bouldin”) Reply at 2-5; Lloyd Bankson Roach (“Roach”) Comments at 2.
    26
    See, e.g., Todd Comments at 1; James Potter (“Potter”) Reply at 6; Kintronic Laboratories, Inc. (“Kintronic”)
    Reply at 6; Society of Broadcast Engineers (“SBE”) Comments at 3.
    27
    See, e.g., Bouldin Comments at 8; Curtis W. Flick (“Flick”) Comments at 1; Grant County Broadcasters (“Grant
    County”) Comments at 3; Scott Clifton (“Clifton”) Comments at 1-2; Carl Haynes (“Haynes”) Reply at 1 (although
    Haynes supports limited grant of translators to AM stations).
    28
    See, e.g., Dana Puopolo (“Puopolo”) Comments at 1; Frederick R. Vobbe (“Vobbe”) Comments at 4; David L.
    Poole (“Poole”) Comments at 1.
    29
    See Charles M. Anderson (“Anderson”) Comments at 1; Mariana Comments at 4; Schartel Comments at 1; IHM
    Reply at 15-16. See also Letter to Ms. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, from Rick Kaplan, Esq., General Counsel and
    Executive Vice President for the National Association of Broadcasters, at 1 (Sept. 22, 2015) (available at
    http://appsint.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment/view?id=60001299918); Letter to Ms. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, from
    Marissa G. Repp, Esq., iHeart Communications, Inc., at 1 (Sept. 3, 2015) (available at
    http://appsint.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment/view?id=60001299038); Letter to Ms. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, from
    James L. Winston, Esq., counsel for the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, at 2 (Sept. 2, 2015)
    (available at http://appsint.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment/view?id=60001199120).
    Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
    7
    FM channel, as a minor modification application. Second, we direct the Media Bureau, in conjunction
    with the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (the “Bureaus”), to open new FM translator application
    auction windows, beginning in 2017, for AM stations that do not file a modification application in 2016.
    As explained below, Class C and D stations will be able to take advantage of the modification window
    and the auction window first, prior to second windows that will be available to all classes. The
    Commission also asked in the NPRM whether, between expanding the number of FM translators eligible
    to re-broadcast AM stations and opening the window proposed in this proceeding, there would continue
    to be a need for Mattoon waivers and, if not, when the policy of granting such waivers should be
    eliminated.
    30
    Most commenters favored retention of Mattoon waivers, adoption of the proposed Tell City
    waivers
    31
    and, for some cases, codifying the Mattoon waiver policy in our Rules.
    32
  3. Although, as noted above, there has been and, we anticipate, will continue to be an
    expansion of the number of FM translator stations available to rebroadcast AM stations, our decision to
    delay opening an exclusive AM-new FM translator window in favor of opening a modification window
    may limit FM translator acquisition options for some AM licensees. Because of this, some flexibility in
    relocating such fill-in FM translators will continue to be necessary. The Mattoon waiver policy requires
    satisfaction of three criteria: (1) the applicant does not have a history of filing serial minor modification
    applications; (2) the proposed site is mutually exclusive with the licensed translator facility; and (3) the
    translator will rebroadcast the proposed AM primary station. Media Bureau staff have clarified the third
    criterion by imposing a four-year operating condition on any authorization for a translator facility moved
    pursuant to a minor modification application granted pursuant to a Mattoon waiver. This means that the
    relocating FM translator must rebroadcast the proposed AM primary station for a period of four years of
    on-air operation, exclusive of silent periods, commencing with the initiation of on-air service at the new
    location. Under the circumstances, we direct the Media Bureau to continue granting Mattoon waivers,
    including the four-year operating condition, in appropriate cases.
  4. The Media Bureau has, however, denied grant of the so-called Tell City waiver, in which
    the waiver proponent proposed to relax the second requirement of a Mattoon waiver, that the proposed
    translator facility be mutually exclusive with the licensed facility. In the Tell City waiver request, the
    licensee sought to modify this criterion to instead require that both the licensed and proposed translator
    facility be within the proposed AM primary station’s 0.25 mV/m interfering contour.
    33
    In denying this
    modification, the Bureau was concerned that allowing a “minor” modification pursuant to waiver would
    not give appropriate notice to, or protect, potential mutually exclusive applicants.
    34
    The applicant in the
    Tell City case has filed an application for review, which we do not wish to pre-judge at this time. Until
    and unless we announce a different procedure on review, however, the Mattoon waiver policy will not be
    extended beyond its current limits as described above, including as proposed by the Tell City applicant,
    except as discussed below for the limited purpose of the modification window we adopt in this First
    Report and Order.

30
NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 15229, citing John F. Garziglia, Esq., Letter, 26 FCC Rcd 12685 (MB 2011). A “Mattoon
Waiver” waives the Commission major change rule that practically restricts FM translator station moves.
31
Way Media, Inc., Letter, 29 FCC Rcd 11287 (MB 2014), review pending (“Tell City Letter”).
32
See, e.g., NAB Comments at 9-11; CRA Reply at 6; Kyle Magrill Reply at 4; Anderson Comments at 1; CTI
Comments at 2; NEPR Comments at 6; MMTC Comments at 8; IHM at 4; Salem Communications Corp. (“Salem”)
Reply at 2; NTA Comments at 6; MBA Comments at 4; Rama Comments at 2; Crawford Comments at 3; Foothills
Comments at 2; NRB Comments at 7; Schartel Comments at 1 (allow waivers during short window only);
Educational Media Foundation (EMF) Comments at 1-4 (should adopt Mattoon waiver policy as a rule, applicable to
all FM translator stations); RAFTT Corporation (“RAFTT”) Comments at 7-8 (should codify Mattoon waiver
policy; also should eliminate fourth Mattoon criterion now that LPFM window has closed). But see CPE Comments
at 5-6 (“The so-called ‘Mattoon’ waiver should be modified or deleted.”).
33
Tell City Letter, 29 FCC Rcd at 11287.
34
Id. at 11289-91.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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15. Although the availability of existing and to-be-authorized FM translator stations and the
use of Mattoon waivers should, as we have observed, provide an ample supply of translators for fill-in use
by many AM stations, we recognize that the availability of such translator stations may not, in many
cases, completely satisfy demand. Some AM broadcasters might enjoy a sufficient supply of translators
that conform with our siting rules, while others may have more difficulty in locating potentially rule-
compliant translators. Still other AM broadcasters, particularly those whose stations have limited power
(Class C) or lack protected nighttime service (Class D), might need additional time to arrange the
financing necessary to enter the market for an FM translator station. For this reason, we direct the Media
Bureau to announce, by Public Notice, two modification windows during which an AM licensee or
permittee seeking to rebroadcast on an FM translator may, on a first-come, first-served basis, acquire and
relocate one and only one authorized non-reserved band FM translator station up to 250 miles, and
specify any rule-compliant non-reserved band FM channel, as a minor modification application,
notwithstanding Section 74.1233(a)(1) of our Rules, which defines major and minor modifications of FM
translator facilities.
35
This distance limitation is designed to substantially expand purchase options for
AM stations, particularly those serving smaller markets and rural areas. It is also designed to not disrupt
the current secondary market for translator authorizations.
36
In this regard we note that spectrum
congestion in the largest markets will significantly limit opportunities for translator station relocations.
The Commission will accept applications to modify authorized FM translator stations that the AM station
licensee or permittee either owns, for which it is the proposed assignee or transferee in a pending
application,
37
or for which it has a rebroadcasting agreement. We further direct the Bureau to open the
first modification window for six months, and to make the first window available only to applications to
modify and/or relocate FM translator stations rebroadcasting Class C and D AM stations, on a one
translator per AM station basis. As noted above, we believe that Class C and D stations, because of their
limited power or lack of protected nighttime service, will benefit most from the acquisition of a cross-
service translator, and thus should be afforded the first opportunity to obtain one. The second window, to
open at the end of the initial six-month window, would be open for an additional three-month period, and
would be available to applications to modify and/or relocate FM translator stations rebroadcasting any
AM station of any class, including Class C and D stations that did not file an application in the initial
window, also on a one translator per AM station basis.

35
47 C.F.R. § 74.1233(a)(1). As discussed in note 12, supra, that rule section defines a major modification in the
facilities of an FM translator station as any change in output frequency except changes to first, second, or third
adjacent channels or intermediate frequencies, and any change in antenna location where the translator station would
not continue to provide 1 mV/m service to some portion of its previously authorized 1 mV/m service area. All other
modifications are considered minor and may be filed at any time on a first-come/first-served basis. See 47 C.F.R. §§
74.1233(b)(1), (c)(1). Applications for major modifications to commercial FM translator facilities may be made
only during filing windows for competitive bidding. See 47 C.F.R. §§ 73.5000(a), 73.5002(a). Likewise,
applications for major modifications to noncommercial educational (“NCE”) FM translator stations on reserved
channels may be filed only during Commission-specified filing windows, and are subject to NCE point system
determinations. See 47 C.F.R. § 73.7001(a).
36
A substantial majority of the approximately 1300 outstanding Auction 83 construction permits are scheduled to
expire in 2016. Modification applicants in one of these two modification windows may seek waivers of these
construction deadlines. See 47 C.F.R. §1.3. Waivers can expand cross-service broadcasting opportunities for AM
stations, will allow AM licensees to realize service improvements quickly, will incentivize FM translator permittee
participation in the modification window process, and will provide a means to avoid the delays and administrative
burdens of re-auctioning this spectrum. Accordingly, we find that a waiver of an Auction 83 FM translator
construction deadline is presumptively in the public interest for applicants participating in one of the modification
windows, provided that the AM station licensee proposing to use the FM translator for rebroadcasting its AM station
commits to prompt FM translator station construction and initiation of broadcast operations.
37
We note that a proposed assignee or transferee may file in its own name an application to modify the subject
translator authorization. See 47 C.F.R. § 73.3517(a).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
9
16. In return for this one-time rule waiver, we direct the Media Bureau to impose on
translators relocated and/or modified using the waiver the same four-year operating condition that we
currently attach to FM translators relocated using Mattoon waivers. Thus, the modified FM translator
must rebroadcast the FM translator modification applicant’s specified AM primary station for a period of
four years of on-air operation, exclusive of silent periods, commencing with the initiation of on-air
service at the new location. We direct the Media Bureau to expeditiously initiate a three-month outreach
effort to promote Class C and Class D participation in this modification window filing process; to
develop, as practicable, technical tools similar to those created for the LPFM window to assess spectrum
availability and potential FM translator acquisition options; and to establish streamlined procedures for
handling inquiries from the AM and FM translator broadcast community. We also direct the Media
Bureau to open the modification windows upon completion of this outreach.
38
17. The modification windows, as noted above, can provide near-term relief to AM
broadcasters. However, some AM stations may not be successful in locating translators, notwithstanding
the availability of rule-compliant FM translator channels in their communities. Therefore, to further
promote the long-term viability of the AM service, we also direct the Bureaus to open two new FM
translator application auction windows, beginning in 2017,
39
for those AM licensees and permittees that
do not participate, i.e., file an application, in one of the modification windows.
40
The first FM translator
auction window, as with the initial modification window, shall be limited to Class C and D AM
permittees and licensees that have not participated in either modification window. Again, as discussed
above with relation to the modification windows, we find that the lower powered and/or service-limited
Class C and D AM broadcasters are most in need of the service enhancement a cross-service translator
can provide, and therefore should receive the first opportunity to apply for one. The second FM translator
auction window, to be opened as soon as possible after the first window has closed and applicants in the
first window have had an opportunity to resolve mutual exclusivity through settlement or technical
resolution, will be open to all AM permittees and licensees that have not participated in any of the prior
modification or auction windows.
41
We believe that the threshold qualification of affording relief first to

38
We note that the pending Tell City waiver request could likely qualify for processing under the waiver procedures
announced herein. However, in order to promote a fair process for all AM stations in reallocating FM translator
spectrum, including to spectrum limited markets, we will not afford that proposal cut-off rights over other
filings. We also direct the Media Bureau to dismiss, without further consideration, waiver requests filed prior to and
in anticipation of the opening of the modification application filing windows.
39
In order to ensure the efficient processing of these auction applications, we direct the Bureaus to undertake and
complete all revisions to Form 175 necessary to collect the FM translator technical specifications. We also direct
the Bureaus to hold an auction for all remaining mutually exclusive commercial Auction 83 applications following
the completion of the Incentive Auction, Auction 1000, and prior to the first FM translator auction window.
40
The NPRM proposed a “one-to-a-customer” FM translator window to provide limited, targeted relief to AM
stations. See NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 15228. Thus, we decline to take the radical step of permitting one class of
eligible applicants to double the number of FM translator authorizations that they could acquire under these window
procedures. Given the supply of translator authorizations, the palpable demand for FM translator licensees by other
stakeholders, and the relief afforded by the modification windows, AM licensees and permittees will be eligible to
participate in either one modification or one auction window, but not both. AM station assignments or transfers
during the multi-window process will not create an opportunity for new owners to participate in an auction window
when the former licensee participated in a modification window.
41
In the NPRM, the Commission opined that applying a threshold qualification restricting eligibility for the
proposed translator window to AM broadcasters is consistent with the Ashbacker rights of potential applicants, and
would provide immediate benefits to the AM service without materially affecting future FM translator window
applicants. NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 15228 (referencing Ashbacker Radio Co. v. FCC, 326 U.S. 327 (1945)). Two
commenters disputed this conclusion. See Bouldin Comments at 2-5 (arguing that limiting window to AM
incumbents is overly and unnecessarily restrictive; that FM translators were originally and primarily established for
FM station fill-in service; and that many AM stations violate FCC rules, suggesting that better approach would be to
establish threshold qualifications based on applicant qualifications rather than applicant class); Kyle Magrill Reply
(continued . . . .)
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
10
Class C and D stations, with limited power or no protected nighttime service, represents the best approach
among the many proposed by commenters.
42
The FM translator auction windows will otherwise follow
the NPRM proposal, insofar as participation will be limited to AM permittees and licensees, each
applicant may apply for one and only one translator station that must comply with our siting rules for FM
fill-in translators rebroadcasting AM stations, and any translator acquired through the FM translator
auction windows will be permanently linked to the AM primary station acquiring it.
43
We note that, just
as in FM Translator Auction 83, these new FM translator auction windows will include opportunities for
mutually exclusive applicants to resolve their mutual exclusivity through settlements or technical
resolutions.
44
B. MODIFY DAYTIME COMMUNITY COVERAGE STANDARDS FOR
EXISTING AM STATIONS
18. Background. A commercial AM radio station must provide daytime coverage to its entire
community of license,
45
although, under a “longstanding policy,” staff has considered a showing that a
station will encompass 80 percent of the community of license’s area or population within the station’s 5
(Continued from previous page)
at 2 (suggesting that Commission’s tentative conclusion could lead to a slippery slope to suspend Ashbacker
whenever the Commission felt it necessary to do so). Bouldin and Magrill’s concerns, while genuine, do not
dissuade us from the tentative conclusion. Neither commenter refutes the legal authority cited in the NPRM (28
FCC Rcd at 15228), and Bouldin in particular makes several sweeping statements without factual support. We
further reject Kyle Magrill’s “slippery slope” argument – as noted in the NPRM, we have the ability to use threshold
qualifications in appropriate situations, and have done so elsewhere. See, e.g., Policies to Promote Rural Radio
Service and to Streamline Allotment and Assignment Procedures, Third Report and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 17642,
17644 n.10, 17650 (2011).
42
There are many different commenter suggestions regarding which AM permittees or licensees should be given
preference in an FM translator window. Many commenters assert that any AM station, of any class, can benefit
from an FM translator, and thus that the window should be open to all AM stations. See, e.g., NAB Comments at 7;
K&G Comments at 3; MBA Comments at 3; Holston Valley Broadcasting Corp. (“Holston”) Reply at 2; Crawford
Comments at 3; Edward P. DeLaHunt (“DeLaHunt”) Comments at 1; Kyle Magrill Reply at 3. Others state that
only Class D stations, or those with no nighttime service, should be allowed to apply or should receive first priority.
See, e.g., REC Comments at 2 (stand-alone Class D only); Meuser Comments at 2; Butte Broadcasting (“Butte”)
Reply at 1-2; KNAB, Inc. (“KNAB”) Comments at 2 (preference for AM stations without nighttime service or with
limited nighttime service); Thomas Osenkowsky (“Osenkowsky”) Comments at 1 (preference to stations with no
licensed nighttime power and those who primarily broadcast live, local programming); Cavell Comments at 2;
Humphrey Comments at 3. Others believe that all but Class A or Class A and B stations should be eligible to
participate (see, e.g., Communications Technologies, Inc. (“CTI”) Comments at 2; John Pavlica, Jr. (“Pavlica”)
Comments at 4; CRA Reply at 2-4; Mt. Wilson Comments at 2; Porter County Comments at 2-3), that only stations
that do not already have fill-in translators should be eligible (see K&G Comments at 3 (prioritizing those without
translators); Clear Channel Comments at 4 (AM station of any class without an associated, licensed FM translator
should be allowed to apply); Common Frequency (“CF”) Comments at 2), or that only stand-alone AM stations
should participate (see, e.g., DAIJ Comments at 2 (stand-alone class B, C, and D stations only); WGTO Comments
at 7 (stand-alone and Class C and D only)). See also Letter to Ms. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, from James L.
Winston, Esq., counsel for the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, at 2 (Sept. 2, 2015) (accessible at
http:// http://appsint.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment/view?id=60001199120) (Class C and D stations should get first
opportunity to file for new FM translators). Several commenters propose multi-stage priority systems, some quite
elaborate, for determining the order in which stations may participate in a window. See, e.g., Kevin Kidd (“Kidd”)
Comments at 5; R. Morgan Burrow (“Burrow”) Comments at 1-2; Carthage Broadcasting (“Carthage”) Comments
at 3-7.
43
NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 15227.
44
See FM Translator Auction 83 Mutually Exclusive Applications Subject to Auction, Public Notice, 28 FCC Rcd
9716 (MB 2013); 47 C.F.R. §§ 73.5002(c), (d).
45
See 47 C.F.R. §§ 73.24(i).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
11
mV/m contour to constitute “substantial compliance” with the rule.
46
The Commission adopted this rule
in order to provide sufficient signal coverage to the designated community of license, in keeping with our
goal of localism.
19. In 2009, MMTC filed a petition for rulemaking,
47
suggesting, among other things, that
the daytime coverage rule harms the public interest because it limits stations’ ability to relocate, due to the
increasing difficulty in finding sites suitable and large enough for AM transmission facilities, especially
those employing multi-tower directional arrays.
48
In the NPRM, the Commission concurred with MMTC
that reduced availability of land, along with expanding city boundaries, make it difficult for some existing
licensed AM stations to relocate and continue to cover their entire communities of license. The
Commission also observed that our goal of localism, derived from Section 307(b) of the Communications
Act,
49
requires that a certain level of service be provided to the community of license.
20. Accordingly, the Commission proposed to modify the daytime community coverage
requirement contained in Section 73.24(i) of the Rules, for licensed AM facilities only, to require that the
station’s predicted or measured daytime 5 mV/m contour encompass only either 50 percent of the
population or 50 percent of the area of the community of license. The reasoning was that existing
licensed stations, especially those of long standing in their communities, were most likely to face
difficulties in finding new sites that would allow them to cover the requisite 80-plus percent of the
community of license, either because they are forced from an existing site or because the community
boundaries had expanded over time. In contrast, an applicant proposing a new AM station or moving an
existing station to a new community of license does not face similar difficulties, because it has the ability
to choose a community based on whether it can locate a site that would allow for the requisite community
coverage. The Commission sought comment on this proposal.
21. While this proposal garnered support,
50
several commenters suggest we go further and
eliminate all daytime community of license coverage requirements. For example, H&D and DLR believe
the concept of “community of license” to be obsolete, and thus favor dropping all coverage
requirements.
51
Many of those favoring the proposal also advocate extending the relaxed community

46
CMP Houston-KC, LLC, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 23 FCC Rcd 10656, 10657 n.8 (2008); see also Barry
Skidelsky, Order, 7 FCC Rcd 5577, 5577 ¶ 3 (1992) (citing John R. Hughes, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 50
Fed. Reg. 5679 (1985)) (“The Commission traditionally accepts proposals that would cover at least 80 percent of the
community of license as constituting substantial compliance with the rule”).
47
Review of Technical Policies and Rules Presenting Obstacles to Implementation of Section 307(b) of the
Communications Act and to the Promotion of Diversity and Localism, MMTC Radio Rescue Petition for
Rulemaking, RM-11565 (Jul. 20, 2009) (“Radio Rescue Petition”). See Consumer and Governmental Affairs
Bureau Reference Information Center Petitions for Rulemaking Filed, Public Notice, Report No. 2899 (CGB Sept.
23, 2009) (announcing filing of the Radio Rescue Petition and seeking public comment).
48
Radio Rescue Petition at 15.
49
47 U.S.C. § 307(b) (“In considering applications for licenses, and modifications and renewals thereof, when and
insofar as there is demand for the same, the Commission shall make such distribution of licenses, frequencies, hours
of operation, and of power among the several States and communities as to provide a fair, efficient, and equitable
distribution of radio service to each of the same.”). See Broadcast Localism, Report and Notice of Proposed Rule
Making, 23 FCC Rcd 1324, 1327 (2008).
50
See, e.g., Vobbe Comments at 3; MMTC Comments at 9-14; MBA Comments at 4; NAB Comments at 13-14;
National Public Radio (“NPR”) Comments at 2-3; Butte Comments at 3; Porter Comments at 3; James B. Potter
(“Potter”) Comments at 6. NRB supports the proposal on a case-by-case basis only. NRB Comments at 7-8. See
also Letter to Ms. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, from James L. Winston, Esq., counsel for the National Association
of Black Owned Broadcasters, at 2 (Nov. 5, 2014) (accessible at
http://appsint.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment/view?id=60000976355) (“NABOB November ex parte”).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
12
coverage standards to applicants for new stations and those changing their community of license, arguing
that these stations, too, face siting difficulties in some cases.
52
22. Those opposing the proposal argue that reducing signal strength over the community of
license will worsen the listening experience and will not advance revitalization.
53
AFCCE suggests that
coverage waivers could be granted on a showing of hardship by an AM station; however, it contends that
a blanket coverage reduction will only perpetuate the image of AM radio as a “noisy, low-fidelity,
antiquated service that can’t be received well in many locations.”
54
23. Discussion. For the reasons outlined above and in the NPRM, we adopt this proposal as
originally conceived.
55
The proposals of some commenters to allow new stations and those changing
community of license to avail themselves of the relaxed daytime community coverage standards would,
as commenters suggest, provide greater site flexibility to all AM broadcasters. However, as cautioned in
the NPRM, the Commission has traditionally been reluctant to authorize facilities that would provide sub-
standard community coverage, and some commenters echoed that sentiment.
56
Additionally, when
looking at the broader scope of the comments, it is clear that environmental interference – and the ability
to overcome such interference to promote listenability – are paramount concerns.
57
The proposal was not
meant to be a means through which AM broadcasters could seek to provide inferior coverage to their
communities of license. Rather, the Commission proposed to relax this rule for existing stations out of
recognition that many of them face daunting challenges in trying to cover a community that may have
expanded to the point that long-existing facilities no longer provide the requisite level of service and
limited site locations exist to improve community coverage.
58
The intent was not and is not to re-interpret
community coverage in such a way that proponents of new and relocated service can be excused from
providing an adequate AM signal to the majority of the chosen community of license. As discussed in the
NPRM, new station or community of license modification proponents have the flexibility to select a
community that they can serve from a site of their choosing and therefore should not choose a community
(Continued from previous page)
51
See, e.g., DLR Comments at 2; H&D Comments at 2; Puerto Rico Broadcasters Association (“PRBA”) Comments
at 2; Sellmeyer Comments at 2. See also Cavell, Mertz and Associates (“CMA”) Comments at 4 (urges significant
relaxation or elimination of community coverage standard: “Market driven forces and competition will likely serve
to ensure meaningful service more effectively than an arbitrary federal standard.”).
52
See, e.g., Butte Comments at 3; CTJ Comments at 3; IHM Comments at 12; DeLaHunt Comments at 2; Timothy
Z. Sawyer (“Sawyer”) Comments at 4; MMTC Comments at 12. Commenter Fybush believes the relaxed
community coverage standard should apply to existing stations changing community of license but not to new AM
station. Fybush Comments at 9-10.
53
See, e.g., University of Northwestern/St. Paul (“UNSP”) Comments at 4; Brian J. Henry (“Henry”) Comments at
2-3; George Arroyo (“Arroyo”) Comments at 2. See also Scott Clifton (“Clifton”) Comments at 2.
54
AFCCE Comments at 4.
55
Some commenters additionally proposed variations on this proposal, which we choose not to adopt at this time.
For example, Khanna & Guill (“K&G”) believe we should require coverage of 50 percent of the community’s
population but not its area. K&G Comments at 4. CC, on the other hand, argues for 50 percent community area
coverage but not population. IHM Comments at 11. Charles Anderson (“Anderson”) would reduce the daytime AM
coverage contour to 3.16 mV/m, the same as FM community coverage. Anderson Comments at 1. R. Morgan
Burrow (“Burrow”) suggests we define community coverage as coverage of 90 percent of the community of license
with a 2 mV/m contour or, alternatively, covering 70 percent of the community with a 5 mV/m contour. Burrow
Comments at 2.
56
See UNSP Comments at 4; Henry Comments at 2-3.
57
See, e.g., BWWG Comments at 2-3; Gay Comments at 1; Crawford Broadcasting Company (“Crawford”)
Comments at 2; DAIJ Media (“DAIJ”) Comments at 5-6; David L. Poole (“Poole”) Comments at 1.
58
NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 15231.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
13
to which they cannot provide at least 80 percent coverage.
59
For the same reason, we believe that the
relaxed community coverage requirements should not apply to permittees for unbuilt stations seeking to
modify those permits, as they do not face the same siting difficulties that existing AM stations do.
24. We therefore modify the daytime community coverage requirement contained in Section
73.24(i) of the Rules, for existing licensed AM facilities only, to require that the daytime 5 mV/m contour
encompasses either 50 percent of the area, or 50 percent of the population of the principal community to
be served. However, in order to preserve the limited intent of this rule modification, we authorize the
Media Bureau to inquire into the facts justifying any modification that would reduce the percentage of
community population or area coverage within the first four years of licensed on-air operation of the
applicant station, exclusive of any periods of reduced operations or silence pursuant to special temporary
authorizations. Should the Bureau find there is no compelling reason warranting reduced community
coverage during this period, it may dismiss the modification application.
25. We also reject proposals to re-define “community” in this context to mean something
other than that established by legal, political boundaries.
60
For example, MMTC states that “the very
notion of community has been recast from that of a specific geographic area defined by political
boundaries to one of specific audiences, interest groups, tastes and demographics within that coverage
area.”
61
While we appreciate the desire expressed by MMTC and other commenters that broadcasters be
able to reach underserved audiences, the Commission’s rules and policies have traditionally been
designed to “foster a system of local stations that respond to the unique concerns and interests of the
audiences within the stations’ respective service areas.”
62
It has historically been the Commission’s
expectation that broadcasters serve their geographic communities, and part of that service involves
adapting to the inexorable population and demographic shifts of those communities. Moreover,
commenters have not provided an alternative definition of “community” specific enough to allow a
meaningful evaluation of a licensee’s compliance with its local service obligations. We are also
concerned that, by allowing broadcasters too much leeway in defining the “communities” they serve, we
risk giving them license to avoid serving certain other “communities” that may therefore remain unserved
or underserved. We thus find no reason to deviate from the traditional definition of “community” for
purposes of defining signal coverage.
63
C. MODIFY NIGHTTIME COMMUNITY COVERAGE STANDARDS FOR
EXISTING AM STATIONS
26. Background. Many AM radio stations are required to reduce their power or cease
operating at night in order to avoid interference to other AM radio stations,
64
due to nighttime skywave

59
See NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 15231. There are, in fact, commenters – see, e.g., DLR at 4; H&D at 9 – who
maintain that the problems with the AM band can be traced in part to the saturation of the band, who argue that we
should open no more filing windows for new AM stations, and who propose that we should in fact encourage
Congress to offer tax incentives to AM broadcasters who surrender their licenses. This perspective points toward a
policy that would favor fewer, more robust new stations rather than additional, weaker ones.
60
See, e.g., Fybush Comments at 9 (“The wild diversity of forms of local government, annexation laws and
population sprawl across the U.S. has made continued reliance on the Commission’s community of license rules an
anachronism . . . .”).
61
MMTC Comments at 9. See alsoMBA Comments at 4 (“Politically created geographical boundaries generally
define the population centers, they do not always define where new service would be useful to an underserved
group.”).
62
Broadcast Localism, Report on Broadcast Localism and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 23 FCC Rcd 1324, 1327
(2008).
63
Accord IHM Reply at 8.
64
47 C.F.R. § 73.182.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
14
propagation that can result in an AM signal traveling, in some cases, hundreds of miles.
65
Our Rules
nevertheless currently require that non-Class D AM broadcasters maintain a signal at night sufficient to
cause 80 percent of the area or population of the broadcaster’s principal community to be “encompassed
by the nighttime 5 mV/m contour or the nighttime interference-free contour, whichever value is higher.”
66

Thus, most AM broadcasters must continue serving the bulk of their communities of license at night even
though the Commission’s Rules, in many cases, mandate reduced maximum broadcast power levels.
27. As discussed in the NPRM, some commenters, notably MMTC, have criticized the
nighttime coverage rules. In addition to the difficulties in finding antenna sites already discussed with
regard to daytime operation, including land availability, in some cases the complexities of avoiding
skywave interference require complicated nighttime directional patterns involving multiple towers. In
extreme cases compliant nighttime facilities must be constructed some distance from an AM station’s
daytime transmission facilities. The Commission also acknowledged MMTC’s contention that the
nighttime coverage rule creates an entry barrier to new AM broadcasters by requiring that broadcasters
either demonstrate substantial compliance with the rule in an application for a new site, or submit a
waiver request demonstrating that the Commission should grant an exception to the rule.
67
28. The Commission has traditionally placed a premium on fulltime radio service, and
therefore nighttime service is an important part of an AM station’s public service obligation.
68
The
Commission therefore proposed in the NPRM that the nighttime community coverage requirement be
eliminated for existing licensed AM stations, and be modified to require that applicants for new AM
stations and those AM stations seeking a change to their communities of license cover either 50 percent of
the population or 50 percent of the area of the communities of license with a nighttime 5 mV/m signal or
a nighttime interference-free contour, whichever value is higher.
29. Most commenters supported this proposal, with many favoring dropping nighttime
coverage requirements entirely
69
or extending relief to all AM stations, not just existing ones.
70
Opponents of the proposal question whether reducing signals over the community of license would
ultimately benefit either the AM service or the broadcasters,
71
and many commenters suggest variants on
the proposal. For example, four commenters advocated case-by-case waivers of nighttime coverage
requirements.
72
Fybush, noting that many AM licensees have already de facto relaxed their nighttime
coverage requirement by downgrading from Class B to Class D, argues that an AM station should be
permitted to reduce its nighttime signal while retaining Class B protection for its reduced signal

65
See NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 15231.
66
47 C.F.R. § 73.24(i). On the classes of AM stations generally, see 47 C.F.R. § 73.21. Class D stations, unlike
other AM station classes, are not afforded nighttime interference protection and must protect other AM stations at
night. Class D stations may have secondary nighttime facilities of no more than 250 watts and equivalent root mean
square of less than 141 mV/m at 1 kilometer.
67
NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 15232.
68
See Revision of FM Assignment Policies and Procedures, Second Report and Order, 90 FCC2d 88 (1982) (“FM
Assignment Policies”), in which first and second fulltime aural service are the first two allotment priorities. The FM
allotment priorities are used in Section 307(b) determinations among mutually exclusive applicants for AM stations.
See, e.g., Alessandro Broadcasting Co., Decision, 56 RR 2d 1568 (Rev. Bd. 1984).
69
See, e.g., DLR Comments at 2; Thomas Osenkowsky (“Osenkowsky”) Comments at 1-2; Cavell Comments at 4;
MMTC Comments at 5, 14-16. See also NABOB November ex parte at 2.
70
IHM Comments at 12.
71
See, e.g., NRB Comments at 8-9; Clifton Comments at 2; Henry Comments at 3; UNSP Comments at 4; Vobbe
Comments at 4-5.
72
See NRB Comments at 8-9; Henry Comments at 3; Carthage Comments at 7-8; Dana Puopolo (“Puopolo”)
Comments at 1.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
15
regardless of community coverage.
73
Butte, while supporting the proposal, would allow increases in post-
sunset power for daytime stations from a minimum of 150 watts up to 500 watts, to enable better local
coverage.
74
Many other variations on the proposal, of differing levels of feasibility, have been offered.
75
30. Discussion. We adopt the proposal as set forth in the NPRM. For the reasons discussed
above, however, we decline to eliminate completely nighttime community of license coverage
requirements for new AM stations and those changing community of license, as well as for permittees of
unbuilt stations seeking to modify their authorizations. Again, we are mindful of striking the appropriate
balance between the need to provide relief to AM broadcasters with few siting options (amplified by the
added complexity of nighttime propagation and concomitant signal restrictions), and the need, expressed
by opponents of the proposal, to provide the community of license with some kind of service. We note
that some of the proposals set forth in the FNPRM, below, may also provide further relief to broadcasters
seeking to provide nighttime coverage to their communities.
76
Finally, as stated in paragraph 24, above,
we instruct the Media Bureau to examine closely any request by a station to reduce nighttime community
coverage during its first four years of licensed on-air operation, and grant it discretion to dismiss any such
application absent a compelling reason warranting reduced nighttime service.
D. ELIMINATE THE AM “RATCHET RULE”
31. Background. The Commission proposed in the NPRM to delete the so-called “ratchet
rule,” which effectively requires that a Class A or B AM broadcaster, seeking to make facility changes
that modify its AM signal, demonstrate that the improvements will result in an overall reduction in the
amount of skywave interference that it causes to certain other AM stations (primarily by “ratcheting
back” radiation in the direction of certain other AM stations).
77
Two engineering firms (and commenters
in this proceeding), DLR and H&D, had filed a 2009 petition to eliminate the ratchet rule,
78
contending
that the rule’s practical effect was to discourage station improvements, because compliance with the rule
more often than not required the modifying station to reduce power to the point that net nighttime
interference-free (“NIF”) service was reduced.

73
Fybush Comments at 11.
74
Butte Comments at 4.
75
See, e.g., K&G Comments at 4-5 (eliminate nighttime community coverage requirement if station can show 50
percent nighttime community coverage with an FM translator, otherwise 50 percent community coverage with 5
mV/m nighttime contour should be adequate; alternatively, require NIF coverage of 50 percent of community
population, computing NIF RSS based on 50 of time rather than 10 percent); Burrow Comments at 2 (reduce
coverage requirement to 50 percent of the area within the 50 percent RSS NIF contour and retain current skywave
propagation curves); Charles M. Anderson (“Anderson”) Comments at 2 (modify nighttime community coverage
requirement to 50 percent of population or area of NIF contour, to match expanded band; eliminate nighttime
community coverage requirement for any facility with a nighttime limit of 20 mV/m or higher).
76
See infra Section IV(A)(2).
77
See 47 C.F.R. § 73.182(q) n.1 (stating that stations that “contribute to another station’s RSS [root-sum-square
values of interfering field strengths] using the 50% exclusion method are required to either reduce their
contributions to that RSS by 10%, or to a level at which their contributions no longer enter into the 50% RSS
value.”).
78
Modification of Section 73.182(q), Footnote 1, to Promote Improvement of Nighttime Service by AM Radio
Stations by Eliminating the “Ratchet Clause,” Petition for Rulemaking, RM-11560 (Aug. 25, 2009) (“Ratchet Rule
Petition”). See Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Reference Information Center Petitions for
Rulemakings Filed, Public Notice, Report No. 2897 (CGB Sept. 9, 2009) (announcing filing of the Ratchet Rule
Petition and seeking public comment).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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32. Most commenters support the proposal to eliminate the rule.
79
Only two commenters
who specifically discuss the ratchet rule favor its retention. DeLaHunt does not support eliminating the
rule absent a similar relaxation in the nighttime skywave protection requirements for all stations, and
argues that the ratchet rule was designed to reduce the nighttime interference contributions of heavy
interferers and enabled otherwise rule-compliant stations to realize service improvements by protecting
them from unfettered modifications by high-interfering stations.
80
Vobbe states that by allowing skywave
interference to distant stations, elimination of the rule could harm those who rely on both local and
skywave service.
81
Some commenters offer further suggestions regarding the rule. Pavlica would
eliminate the ratchet rule except during times of local emergencies, at which time he would have all same
channel and co-channel stations outside of the area of a declared emergency reduce their nighttime power
to permit the station with the declared local emergency to have a solid quality signal to their listeners for
the duration of the declared emergency.
82
Flick supports immediate elimination of the ratchet rule, but
also states that AM stations impacted by it should be able to recover their nighttime coverage.
83
33. Discussion. We will eliminate the ratchet rule, as proposed in the NPRM. Many
commenters echo the negative consequences of the ratchet rule that were identified in the NPRM and the
DLR/H&D Ratchet Rule Petition. Additionally, commenters identify several long- and short-term
benefits that would result from eliminating the rule, including: cost reduction to AM broadcasters making
station improvements;
84
economic benefits to local AM stations and their communities served through
expanded nighttime broadcasting and consequent expansion to local advertising platforms;
85
and the
ability of communities served by AM stations affected by the ratchet rule to receive information
concerning local events, or emergencies at night.
86
K&G notes that eliminating the rule would enable AM
stations to design simpler antenna systems and maintain the same number of towers in most cases when

79
See, e.g., National Public Radio (“NPR”) Comments at 3; UNSP Comments at 4-5; Cavell Comments at 4; IHM
Comments at 13-14 (ratchet rule has disproportionately greater negative impact on more established AMs, unduly
burdens AMs while providing negligible interference relief); MMTC Comments at 16-17 (unequal tradeoff in
coverage for interference not in public interest); NRB Comments at 9; Berkshire Broadcasting Corp. (“Berkshire”)
Comments at 2; K&G Comments at 5 (ratchet rule is counter-productive to designing directional antenna systems
for relocating stations, causing many to lose original service area or require more complex antenna systems); DLR
Comments at 3; Puerto Rico Broadcasters Association (“PRBA”) Comments at 2; WRDN Comments at 1; Fybush
Comments at 12 (rule has become a misguided impediment to AMs); Flick Comments at 2; Clifton Comments at 2
(rule only encourages broadcasters not to make any changes); Burrow Comments at 2. See also NABOB November
ex parte at 2.
80
DeLaHunt Comments at 3.
81
Vobbe Comments at 5. See also Comments of Joseph E. Talbot (“Talbot”) who, while not specifically
mentioning the ratchet rule, emphasizes the value of large regional stations, noting listener complaints of skywave
interference to same. Talbot Comments at 1.
82
Pavlica Comments at 5. We note that 47 C.F.R. § 73.1250(f) provides for an AM station, during a period of
emergency, to use its full daytime facilities during nighttime hours to broadcast emergency information on a
noncommercial basis, to the extent that existing nighttime service is nonexistent or inadequate to meet the public
need.
83
Flick Comments at 2.
84
UNSP Comments at 5.
85
City of Durand, Wisconsin (“Durand”) Comments.
86
Id. See alsoWRDN Comments at 1-2. We note that WRDN’s comments presuppose that elimination of the
ratchet rule would automatically allow stations like its own to apply for increased nighttime power. This may or
may not be the case, depending on the particular technical situation facing an individual station applicant.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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changing sites.
87
Finally, previously affected AM stations would no longer be discouraged from making
necessary improvements to facilities.
88
34. We are not persuaded by those supporting retention of the ratchet rule. These arguments
essentially reassert the same disproven rationale for preserving the rule that was first invoked for its
creation: that the apparently negligible reduction in skywave interference effected by the ratchet rule is
worth the harm its imposition has caused affected stations.
89
The majority of commenters resoundingly
and persuasively reject this argument.
90
We also reject Flick’s suggestion that AM stations impacted by
the ratchet rule be allowed to recover their lost nighttime coverage resulting from ratchet rule
compliance,
91
as this process would be administratively unwieldy and time-consuming. All AM
broadcasters were equally affected by the ratchet rule: those that chose not to modify their stations
voluntarily declined the opportunity to improve their service, while those that chose to modify their
facilities did so with full knowledge of the costs and benefits involved. There is no reason to allow the
stations that modified their facilities despite the ratchet rule to recover the nighttime coverage that they
lost from such compliance, nor does compliance with a rule subsequently determined to be less than
effective constitute a bar to its repeal.
92
E. PERMIT WIDER IMPLEMENTATION OF MODULATION DEPENDENT
CARRIER LEVEL CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES
35. Background. Since 2011, AM stations have been allowed to seek rule waiver or
experimental authorization to use Modulation Dependent Carrier Level (“MDCL”) control technologies
or algorithms.
93
MDCL control technologies, as we explained in the NPRM,
94
vary either the carrier or
the carrier and sideband power levels as a function of the modulation level, thus allowing the licensee to
reduce transmitter power consumption while maintaining audio quality and signal coverage. Although
there are two basic types of MDCL control technologies and various systems in use, each reduces the
station’s antenna input power to levels not permitted by Section 73.1560(a) of the Commission’s Rules.
95

87
K&G Comments at 5.
88
See, e.g., Sellmeyer Engineering (“Sellmeyer”) Comments at 5-6.
89
DeLaHunt Comments at 3.
90
DeLaHunt’s further contention that eliminating the ratchet rule would be unfair to AM stations that already
complied does not dissuade us from deleting the rule. Id. Were such a rationale to prevail, the Commission could
never change an ineffective or obsolete rule, merely because certain parties had been affected by it. We are required
periodically to re-evaluate our regulations to determine whether they are still needed. See, e.g., Exec. Order No.
13,579, § 2, 76 Fed. Reg. 41,587 (July 11, 2011) (“To facilitate the periodic review of existing significant
regulations, independent regulatory agencies should consider how best to promote retrospective analysis of rules that
may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome, and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal
them in accordance with what has been learned.”); Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules, Public
Notice, 2012 WL 1851335 (FCC, May 18, 2012).
91
Flick Comments at 2.
92
See, e.g., Amendment of the Commission’s Rules Related to Retransmission Consent, Report and Order and
Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, 29 FCC Rcd 3351, 3384-86 (2014) (absent Congressional intent to keep
cable program exclusivity rules on the books, Commission is free to modify or repeal them if it concludes such
action is appropriate).
93
See Media Bureau to Permit Use of Energy-Saving Transmitter Technology by AM Stations, Public Notice, 26
FCC Rcd 12910 (MB 2011) (“MDCL Public Notice”).
94
28 FCC Rcd at 15235.
95
47 C.F.R. § 73.1560(a).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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36. Based on reports from the over 60 stations that have received waivers or experimental
authorizations to use MDCL control technologies, as well as the two manufacturers (Harris and Nautel)
currently providing these technologies, the Commission proposed to: (1) amend Section 73.1560(a) of the
Rules
96
to provide that an AM station may commence MDCL control operation without prior Commission
authority, provided that the AM station licensee notifies the Commission of the station’s MDCL control
operation within 10 days after commencement of such operation using the Media Bureau’s Consolidated
Database System (“CDBS”) Electronic Filing System; (2) require, regardless of the MDCL control
technology employed, that the AM station’s transmitter must achieve full licensed power at some audio
input level, or when the MDCL control technology is disabled; and (3) require an AM station using
MDCL control technology to disable it before field strength measurements on the station are taken by the
licensee or others.
37. Most commenters support this proposal,
97
although support was in some cases muted,
98
with some commenters noting that the benefits of MDCL control technologies may be minimal, or the
technologies may even detract from audio fidelity in some situations.
99
MMTC, while supporting the
proposal, notes that the technologies’ benefits are limited to newer-model transmitters.
100
Only three
commenters opposed this proposal. Pavlica believes MDCL technology should not be used on AM due to
the difficulty in analog tuning to an AM station using MDCL during silent periods, especially when using
a receiver’s “seek” and “scan” functions,
101
suggesting that we should instead require a one-minute period
of standard fully modulated licensed analog power at the top and bottom of the hour, thus enabling
listeners on legacy analog AM radios to tune in clearly every 30 minutes.
102
CTI, like MMTC, notes the
limited value of MDCL in older AM transmitters, and opines that a licensee’s return on investment after
buying a new transmitter that can fully utilize MDCL technology may be minimal. CTI’s principal
concern is that third-party MDCL products – those not made by the transmitter manufacturer – have the
potential for causing interference, and that if we are to allow such technologies we must guard against
interference.
103
Word Power states that operators should use all their authorized power, or else should
apply for reduced power.
104
38. Others commented on other aspects of MDCL operation, in particular with regard to
potential third-party MDCL products to be used with transmitters. NRB opines that if the manufacturer
of MDCL technology is different than the manufacturer of the AM station’s transmitter, the transmitter

96
Id.
97
See, e.g., IHM Comments at 16; NPR Comments at 3; NAB Comments at 18-19; K&G Comments at 6; Crawford
Comments at 6: MBA Comments at 5; Cavell Comments at 5; DLR Comments at 3; PRBA Comments at 3; AFCCE
Comments at 6; Butte Comments at 5; Flick Comments at 2; H&D Comments at 3; Burrow Comments at 3; Fybush
Comments at 12; Potter Reply at 7; Nathan Goossen (“Goossen”) Reply at 2. See also NABOB November ex parte
at 2.
98
See, e.g., WGTO Comments at 9 (observing that MDCL most useful for AM stations with less than 10 kW
power).
99
See NRB Comments at 10 (implementation should be left to individual stations, but MDCL may decrease AM
listenership by further diminishing audio fidelity); Vobbe Comments at 5 (supports but questions whether this is
“AM revitalization,” as it does not improve public service, only lowers energy bills); Henry Comments at 3
(expressing concern about audio quality, and suggesting that the Commission create a measurement standard to
ensure optimal MDCL operation).
100
MMTC Comments at 17-18.
101
Pavlica Comments at 5-6.
102
Id.
103
CTI Comments at 3.
104
Word Power Reply at 2.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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manufacturer should certify the MDCL product for compliance.
105
Mt. Wilson suggests that we take a
position on third-party MDCL use that “clearly provides protection to broadcasters from potential
interference.”
106
Humphrey supports the proposal but suggests the Commission consider eliminating the
125 percent positive peak modulation limit.
107
Randy D. Gehman (“Gehman”) suggests the Commission
authorize 150 percent or higher positive peak asymmetrical modulation to help override noise, and also
suggests that the Commission “facilitate research” into modulation methods that increase sideband
energy.
108
iBiquity generally supports the proposal, but disagrees that stations broadcasting in hybrid
digital mode should be required to reduce their digital signal, based on independently conducted studies.
Stating that reductions in analog power can potentially drive the digital signal below the noise floor in the
AM band, iBiquity proposes that the Commission allow broadcasters to maintain their digital power
levels even if they choose to use an MDCL technology that reduces analog power.
109
39. Discussion. We adopt this proposal as set forth in the NPRM. AM stations must
electronically notify the Media Bureau of the station’s MDCL control operation within 10 days after
commencement of such operation using FCC Form 338 – AM Station MDCL Notification, available in
the CDBS Electronic Filing System. Although some commenters question the value of MDCL control
technologies, they appear to agree that the decision on whether to use such technologies should rest with
the individual broadcaster. Commenters such as MMTC are correct that, for the moment at least, MDCL
control technologies are available only to broadcasters using newer-model transmitters. For this reason,
we are reluctant to impose additional requirements regarding certification of third-party MDCL products.
We will continue to hold broadcasters responsible for their signals, and for any interference resulting from
those signals (interference that, we note, has not to this point been reported from those broadcasters
currently employing MDCL control technologies). We may, of course, revisit this position if interference
from third-party MDCL products becomes a problem but, again, it would be up to the broadcaster
employing such a product to remedy the situation should interference arise. We see no reason to raise the
modulation limits set forth in Section 73.1570(b)(1),
110
as suggested by Humphrey and Gehman, as we
have had no reports of difficulties adhering to those limits by those broadcasters currently using MDCL
control technologies. As for iBiquity’s concerns, we note that we have no requirement that AM stations
operating in hybrid IBOC mode, using MDCL control technologies for their analog AM signals,
concomitantly reduce their digital signal levels. The default for any broadcast station is to operate at full
licensed power; there is no reason for a station to reduce that power if it opts not to do so.
40. We reiterate that the Commission’s proposal did not introduce a new operating mode to
AM broadcast, but rather was intended to reduce the burden on those stations wishing to employ MDCL
control technologies by eliminating the need to seek authorization from the Commission. Unless and
until we learn of difficulties, such as increased inter-station interference, caused by these technologies, we
decline to impose any further rule changes with regard to MDCL operation.
F. MODIFY AM ANTENNA EFFICIENCY STANDARDS
41. Background. In the NPRM, the Commission discussed MMTC’s Radio Rescue Petition,
in which MMTC argued for the elimination of the Commission’s minimum efficiency standards for AM
transmission systems, replacing them with a “minimum radiation” standard. In MMTC’s view, the
minimum efficiency standards are often a hindrance to AM broadcasters, because they require a certain

105
NRB Comments at 10. See also UNSP Comments at 6.
106
Mt. Wilson Comments at 2. Other commenters stressing that we should protect broadcasters from potential
interference due to MDCL implementation are Porter County (Comments at 3) and CTI (Comments at 3).
107
Humphrey Comments at 7.
108
Gehman Comments at 3.
109
iBiquity Comments at 3-5.
110
47 C.F.R. § 73.1570(b)(1).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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height antenna and length of ground radials for a station at a given frequency, which can cause difficulties
in finding compliant sites for towers and ground systems. MMTC argued that an AM broadcaster should
be able to use a less efficient – but also less space-intensive – transmission system, driving the system
with more power to offset the lack of efficiency.
42. The Commission observed that MMTC’s proposal lacked specifics as to the appropriate
replacement “minimum radiation” standard, noting that our Rules contained similar provisions for
applicants seeking to avoid the minimum antenna efficiency standards.
111
The Commission also stated
that it did not believe the record was sufficiently developed to propose wholesale rule changes to the
minimum antenna efficiency standards.
112
In order to provide some relief to AM broadcasters finding it
increasingly difficult to locate rule-compliant antenna sites, however, the Commission proposed to reduce
the AM antenna efficiency standards by 25 percent. The Commission also encouraged commenters, to
the extent that they agree with MMTC that the antenna efficiency standards should be replaced, to
provide specifics as to any proposed replacement or alternative standard for AM transmission systems,
including radiation and/or field strength standards, antenna input power, and minimum specifications for
AM towers and ground systems, and the respective potential costs and benefits of such proposals.
113

  1. While the majority of commenters agree that AM antenna efficiency standards should be
    reduced or eliminated,
    114
    few provided the specific input requested. Many commenters simply state that
    the efficiency standards should be relaxed or eliminated altogether, couching it as solely a business
    decision by the broadcaster whether to expend extra funds to power the antenna system.
    115
    Others add the
    proposed qualification that any antenna system may be used, as long as it does not interfere with other
    stations.
    116
    Some commenters generally support relaxation of the standards but add cautions. For

111
NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 15238 and n.108. 47 C.F.R. § 73.189(b)(1) states that good engineering practice requires
an AM applicant either “to install a new antenna system or to make changes in the existing antenna system which
will meet the minimum height requirements, or submit evidence that the present antenna system meets the minimum
requirements with respect to field strength, before favorable consideration will be given thereto.” Additionally, 47
C.F.R. § 73.189(b)(5) allows an applicant contending that the required antenna efficiency can be obtained with an
antenna of height or ground system less than the minimum specified to supply a field strength survey demonstrating
that the field strength at a mile without absorption fulfills the minimum requirements.
112
NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 15239.
113
Id.
114
See, e.g., NPR Comments at 2-3; Rama Comments at 1; Meuser Comments at 4 (should eliminate for all except
Class A stations); Sellmeyer Comments at 4; Worldwide Antenna Comments at 1 (reduction of standards by 25
percent as proposed will encourage development of alternative antenna systems that do not require ground systems);
Wright Comments at 1; Bittner Reply at 3 (should allow something between a Travelers’ Information Service
(“TIS”) station and current standards; station’s existence is more important than technical rules); K&G Reply at 3;
Timothy Cutforth (“Cutforth”) Reply. See also NABOB November ex parte at 2.
115
See, e.g., Broadcast Warning Working Group (“BWWG”) Comments at 6; Flick Comments at 2-3; MBA
Comments at 5 (tower height decisions should be made using “enlightened self-interest” weighing local zoning,
cost, and coverage factors); PRBA Comments at 3; Fybush Comments at 12-13 (antenna input power and efficiency
should be up to the broadcaster; relaxation of standards should also include “non-standard” antenna types, like roof-
mounted and shunt-fed antennas); Kintronic Reply at 8-9.
116
See, e.g., AFCCE Comments at 6-7 (should retain only such efficiency standards as are necessary to “insure
stability and predict interference, in recognition that existing community coverage requirements will still insure
adequate signal coverage.”); Butte Comments at 5-6 (should allow short towers, but station must abide by any
standards the Commission imposes on such inefficient radiators); Cavell Comments at 5 (broadcaster should be able
to make its own decision as to power and antenna system, provided RF exposure and inter-station interference
criteria can be reasonably satisfied); DLR Comments at 3-4 (broadcaster should have complete flexibility as to
transmission system and location; only concern should be avoiding interference to other stations, which can be
achieved by requiring that allocation studies be based on minimum efficiency standards where actual radiation
efficiency, whether due to tower height or ground system restrictions, or both, is expected to be lower); Vobbe
(continued . . . .)
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
21
example, IHM warns of the problem of high-angle skywave radiation from short antennas,
117
although
DLR presents data disputing this contention.
118
CTI describes how antenna stability and bandwidth
decrease with radiator height, and suggests some potential solutions and areas for further study.
119
Kidd
contends that inefficient systems should be allowed only if an efficient, rule-compliant system is not
feasible.
120

  1. A few commenters present more detailed ideas. H&D supports elimination of current
    minimum efficiency rules, suggesting that AM antenna systems should be authorized based on inverse
    distance fields calculated by “appropriate engineering methods.”
    121
    H&D further states that we should
    require a minimum allocation value to prevent proliferation of very low effective radiated power stations;
    otherwise, licensees should be allowed to use antennas of lower efficiency if desired, due to the
    constraints of site availability and local land use restrictions.
    122
    Henry recommends that we require a
    specified inverse field that must be attained at one kilometer from the transmitter site for a given class of
    service, but does not suggest what field values we should use.
    123
    Anderson would have us reduce the
    current efficiency standards by 50 percent, would permit a 200-foot tower and 200-foot ground system at
    540 kHz, and equivalent electrical heights at higher frequencies, compensating for coverage with higher
    power.
    124
    Crawford supports the proposed 25 percent reduction in efficiency standards, stating that this
    will provide some relief, while not being so inefficient as to produce unstable patterns or too many
    problems with excessive RF radiation near the transmitter.
    125
    SBE likewise concurs in the proposal to
    (Continued from previous page)
    Comments at 6 (while rule-compliant efficient antennas may be needed in larger markets, in smaller markets
    inefficient antenna systems should be allowed as long as they do not cause interference; compares to the Traffic
    Information Service, where inefficiently radiated signals perform a public good); Mt. Wilson Comments at 2-3
    (short towers and ground systems should be allowed as long as they are not unstable and thus cause interference);
    NRB Comments at 11-12 (reduction in minimum field strength values should be considered as long as reduction in
    field strength does not decrease signal strength quality within prescribed distance from transmitter site; endorses
    “approved alternatives to erecting tall tower that still meet radiation efficiency standards,” such as Kintronic
    antenna); Porter County Comments at 3 (supports relaxation of standards as long as “resulting decrease in efficiency
    does not cause instability resulting in interference to other stations.”); Flick Comments at 3 (Commission should
    allow any radiator as long as it meets horizontal coverage requirements, and can be shown through modeling or
    measurement not to produce skywave radiation more than 35 degrees – or some other reasonable figure – above the
    horizon to any greater level than would a quarter-wave radiator at the same nominal power level); RAMS Comments
    at 3 (should relax as long as broadcaster can meet a mV/m standard); Osenkowsky Comments at 2 (as long as no
    interference is created); WGTO Comments at 9-10 (should allow any antenna system as long as efficiency can be
    calculated to a degree of accuracy required for a proper showing; must be careful of increased near-field intensity
    due to increased power, however, and possible interference to nearby “domestic systems”); IHM Reply at 10-11
    (stations should have complete flexibility in antenna system design, but station should provide allocation studies
    based on minimum efficiency standards demonstrating that no new interference is created).
    117
    IHM Comments at 10.
    118
    DLR Reply at 7-8.
    119
    CTI Comments at 4. CTI states that elevating the tower feed point can reduce ground losses, and also suggests
    that rooftop mounting and use of short, helically wound antennas like the Valcom antenna may merit further study.
    It also notes that less-efficient antennas are likely more useful in non-directional settings, as mutual coupling in
    directional arrays can reduce antenna impedance, resulting in instability and the need to constantly monitor and
    adjust the antenna system.
    120
    Kidd Comments at 7-8.
    121
    H&D Comments at 3.
    122
    Id. H&D also notes that current international agreements do not contain minimum AM efficiency standards.
    123
    Henry Comments at 4.
    124
    Anderson Comments at 2; Anderson Reply at 2.
    125
    Crawford Comments at 6-7.
    Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
    22
    reduce the efficiency standards by 25 percent. While agreeing with MMTC’s contention that efficiency is
    irrelevant as long as minimum radiation is achieved, SBE also cautions that complete abandonment of
    antenna efficiency and height standards is undesirable, as shorter radiators tend to be difficult to match to
    a transmitter, can result in unacceptable occupied bandwidth, and produce higher levels of skywave
    radiation.
    126
    Sawyer states that stations proposing operation with less than current radiation requirements
    as derived by Figure 8 of Section 73.190 of the Rules should be required to determine the radiation value
    via field strength measurements, with the value noted in CDBS and on the station license.
    127
  2. There are also parties who oppose the proposal or any effort to relax the AM antenna
    efficiency standards. DeLaHunt states that, while this proposal appears at first to have merit, over time
    the use of inefficient radiators will result in inefficient use of spectrum.
    128
    Potter notes that shorter
    radiators can be unstable given seasonal variations in temperature and soil moisture, and can produce high
    take-off angles increasing skywave interference. While conceding that there are some non-traditional
    antenna designs (e.g., Kintronic, Valcom) that meet efficiency standards at some, but not all frequencies,
    overall Potter states that those standards exist for the good of the AM service.
    129
    CDE opposes the
    proposal because it believes it is unclear how it could be implemented while still satisfying current
    international agreements.
    130
    Arroyo believes that reducing efficiency standards will reduce coverage.
    131

Clifton defends current efficiency standards, contending that shorter antennas would create more skywave
interference.
132
We note again that interference is a common complaint among commenters, and
interference from one AM station to another is, unlike some other forms of interference, a source within
our control. UNSP, while not explicitly opposing the proposal, notes that the physics of AM broadcasting
“require certain realities in the tower structures and ground systems,” and that while alteration of the rules
might produce cost savings, they might also harm frequency integrity to the broadcaster’s detriment.
133
Additionally, as noted above, some of those generally supporting the idea of relaxing antenna efficiency
standards offer cautions about the potential problems of operating without regard to such standards.
134

  1. Discussion. We adopt the proposal as set forth in the NPRM, reducing the existing AM
    antenna efficiency standards by 25 percent as a means to provide relief to AM broadcasters. While some
    commenters espouse an “anything goes” approach to AM antenna efficiency standards,
    135
    and a smaller
    number believe that these standards should be retained as they currently exist, the majority of commenters
    appear to favor the relaxation or elimination of such standards only to the extent that they do not cause
    interference to other AM stations. Given the oft-expressed concerns about interference to AM stations
    from various sources, the need to limit such interference dictates caution in our approach. We also note

126
SBE Comments at 6-7. See also CRA Reply at 7 (supports SBE comments but would reduce efficiency
standards by 50 percent rather than 25 percent; also proposes authorization of compact antennas such as the Valcom
for all frequencies, not just higher frequencies).
127
Sawyer Comments at 6. See 47 C.F.R. § 73.190 Figure 8.
128
DeLaHunt Comments at 3.
129
Potter Comments at 9.
130
CDE Comments at 6.
131
Arroyo Comments at 2.
132
Clifton Comments at 2. See alsoWord Power Comments at 2.
133
UNSP Comments at 6-7.
134
See supra paragraph 43 and notes 117, 119.
135
See, e.g., Flick Comments at 2 (“Should a licensee choose to use a 4 foot pole, with a 4 foot radial ground
system, requiring him to produce 100 kW to meet a 1 kW coverage area, of what concern is that to the Commission,
the general public, or other licensees?”).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
23
that no commenters propose a specific radiation standard that would supplant the current AM antenna
efficiency rules, thus the record does not support the wholesale replacement of those rules.
47. We do, however, agree that any further update to our AM antenna efficiency rules would
benefit from real world data. For example, Flick, in his comments, suggests that we grant experimental
waivers to AM broadcasters who propose facilities that do not conform to the current rules on antenna
efficiency.
136
Data gathered from such non-conforming operation would help to provide a record on
which to base consideration of further reductions in, or even elimination of, antenna efficiency standards.
48. We therefore direct the Media Bureau to entertain requests by existing AM broadcasters
for experimental authorizations to operate with antenna systems that do not meet the modified antenna
efficiency rules, provided that they can establish that such operation will not increase interference to other
domestic or international AM stations and can demonstrate the stability of such systems. Such
applications may be made by informal application pursuant to Section 5.203 of our Rules,
137
and shall be
subject to the monitoring and reporting requirements in that section and such other conditions as the
Bureau may require.
IV. FURTHER NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULE MAKING
A. MODIFY AM PROTECTION STANDARDS
1. Change Nighttime and Critical Hours Protection to Class A AM Stations
49. Background. In the NPRM, the Commission invited additional recommendations for rule
changes to help revitalize the AM service. A number of commenters advocate reducing day and
nighttime protection afforded to Class A AM stations.
138
Several commenters suggest reducing or
eliminating critical hours protection afforded to Class A stations.
139
These stations operate at up to 50 kW
of power, day and night, and have large extended service areas, especially at night when skywave
propagation allows signals to travel hundreds of miles.
140

  1. The protection afforded Class A stations, especially at night, is the source of concern to
    many AM broadcasters. During daytime hours, over 200 licensed Class B and Class D AM stations are
    required to reduce power and/or change to a directional antenna system to meet the required critical hours
    protection afforded to Class A stations. As discussed in paragraphs 26 and 27, above, during nighttime
    hours – if permitted nighttime operation at all – other stations often must invest in complex directional
    arrays to protect one of the 73 Class A stations,
    141
    and/or must substantially reduce their power,
    sometimes resulting in their having only secondary nighttime facilities, i.e., Class D AM stations, which
    are those permitted to operate with less than minimum facilities that are not protected by other co- and
    adjacent-channel nighttime stations. Even for those Class B stations that are protected from interference
    by other AM stations at night, this often results in sub-standard nighttime coverage, in order to protect the

136
Id. at 3.
137
47 C.F.R. § 5.203.
138
47 C.F.R. § 73.21(a)(1).
139
47 C.F.R. § 73.187(a)(1). Critical hours are the two-hour period immediately following local sunrise and the
two-hour period immediately preceding local sunset.
140
Class A stations located in the continental United States are protected during the day to their 0.1 mV/m
groundwave contour by co-channel stations, and to their 0.5 mV/m groundwave contour by adjacent channel
stations. 47 C.F.R. § 73.182(a)(1)(i)(A). At night, these stations are protected to their 0.5 mV/m-50 percent
skywave contour by co-channel stations, and to their 0.5 mV/m groundwave contour by adjacent channel stations.
47 C.F.R. §§ 73.182(a)(1)(i)(B); 73.182(q). All Class A stations are protected to their 0.1 mV/m groundwave
contour during critical hours. 47 C.F.R. § 73.187(a)(1).
141
57 Class A stations are in the continental United States, while 16 are in Alaska. Per 47 C.F.R. § 73.182(a)(1)(ii),
Alaskan Class A stations receive different nighttime protection than mainland Class A AM stations.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
24
secondary service area of a larger station a considerable distance, and often many states away.
Commenters argue that they could provide better service, with more power to overcome the local noise
floor, if the protections to Class A stations were relaxed.
142
51. Class A stations have traditionally provided wide-area service to different regions of the
United States, including rural areas, and to travelers driving through their relatively large coverage areas.
The high power and large extended service areas of these stations have also proved invaluable in
emergencies,
143
as when Entercom Communications and commenter IHM combined resources during
Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, broadcasting over six area stations with Class A WWL in New
Orleans as the flagship station.
144
Other commenters, however, note that the utility of high-powered,
wide-area AM stations has waned since the early days of radio, when the FM service was nonexistent or
underutilized, more of the population lived outside of major metropolitan areas, and there were
significantly fewer media choices than there are today.
145
Because of this, many commenters believe that
the current protection afforded to Class A stations should be reduced, in order to allow other, more local
stations to add or increase day and nighttime power to their listening areas.
146
52. The advocates of reduced protection to Class A stations have differing views on exactly
how to change the protection rules. Most appear to suggest eliminating nighttime skywave protection to
Class A stations, and reducing the groundwave protection. There were multiple suggestions about the
appropriate level of contour protection. For example, both DLR and PRBA propose protecting Class A
stations to their 0.5 mV/m groundwave contour both day and night,
147
while Porter County suggests
protection to the 2.0 mV/m groundwave contour, both day and night.
148
Commenters also propose
modifications to critical hours protections.
149
Two commenters suggest that the protection of Alaskan
Class A stations be reduced.
150

142
See, e.g., Crawford Comments at 7 (“While there likely are a few listeners that continue to listen to skywave
signals of class A stations, that listening comes at the expense of huge numbers of listeners that are excluded from
the night interference-free contours of class B and class D stations that must reduce power, employ deeply-nulled
directional patterns or go off the air altogether to protect those class A skywave contours. Eliminating class A
skywave service protection would have the potential to eliminate the daytime-only status of many AM stations,
allowing those stations to provide 24-hour service to their communities.”)
143
See Fybush Comments at 18.
144
See, e.g., Jeff May, “New Orleans’ Radio Carries Through Stormy Times,” Houston Chronicle, Sept. 5, 2005,
available at http://www.chron.com/news/hurricanes/article/New-Orleans-radio-carries-through-stormy-times-
1671510.php.
145
See, e.g., Bryan Comments at 2; Crawford Comments at 7; DAIJ Comments at 7.
146
Id. See also, e.g., WGTO Comments at 11; Dybas Comments; DLR Comments at 6; Missouri Comments at 6.
See also NABOB November ex parte at 1.
147
DLR Comments at 5-6; PRBA Comments at 4-5.
148
Porter County Comments at 4. Other proponents include MBA Comments at 6 (protect to the 1 mV/m
groundwave contour daytime, 0.5 mV/m groundwave contour night), RAMS Comments at 3 (protect to the daytime
0.5 mV/m contour and nighttime 2.0 mV/m contour), Brown Comments at 9 (eliminate skywave protection, only
protect to nighttime 1.0 mV/m groundwave contour), DAIJ Comments at 7 (change nighttime protection to the 0.5
mV/m groundwave contour), Todd Comments at 2 (protect to double the Class A station’s daytime coverage radius
at night), Dybas Comments (limit Class A stations to 10 kW power at night), and H&D Comments at 4-5 (protect to
the 1.0 or 2.0 mV/m groundwave contour, determined by RSS calculations). See also CTI Comments at 5 (protect
to 2.0 mV/m groundwave contour at night for both co-channel and first adjacent-channel stations).
149
See DLR Comments at 5-6; NAAMB Comments at 13-15; Word Power Reply at 1. H&D and Sellmeyer
recommend modification of the skywave field strength formulas used to determine the required Class A critical
hours protection. H&D Comments at 5-6; Sellmeyer Comments at 11. On the other hand, Burrow and Gehman
(continued . . . .)
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
25
53. Opposition to these commenter proposals comes chiefly from IHM, which states that
Class A stations are among the only AM stations that garner substantial listenership.
151
It produces an
analysis indicating that Class A AM stations would lose from eight to 90 percent of their daytime
audience reach – an average of 46 percent – if the daytime protection for such stations was changed from
the 0.1 mV/m to the 0.5 mV/m contour.
152
IHM subsequently stated that an analysis of Nielsen rating
data indicated that approximately 600,000 existing listeners of Class A AM stations in the continental
United States, representing over three million listening hours per week, would lose protected service if
Class A AM station protection were reduced to the same level as that for Class B AM station.
153
IHM
also argues that reducing the nighttime protection from the 0.5 mV/m-50 percent skywave contour to the
0.5 mV/m groundwave contour would have an impact on listeners in rural areas, where noise floors are
low.
154
It further contends that reductions in protection would result in “beat frequency” phenomena,
which cause perceived lower volume, and concomitant losses in listenership and increased listener
complaints.
155
Opponents also include Fybush, who not only advocates retaining protection to Class A
stations but asks us to investigate authorizing 100 kW stations;
156
and Pavlica, who urges us to consider
allowing certain Class A stations to become “megastations” authorized at up to one megawatt in power.
157
54. Discussion. IHM, licensee of 18 Class A stations, urges caution in taking any steps to
reduce protection standards and thus diminish the extensive coverage area afforded the Class A stations
both daytime and nighttime. Other commenters are adamant that the availability of many media voices in
most areas of the United States has rendered the large protected Class A station coverage unnecessary,
and that such protection decreases the availability of local broadcast voices. The tradeoff appears to be
whether we should take steps that would deprive Class A stations of listeners far outside of their primary
service areas, if those steps would allow substantial numbers of other stations to improve their service,
both day and night, to their communities of license and adjacent areas.
55. While the wide-area service of Class A stations has historically proved to be beneficial,
the Commission has seen fit in the past to reduce protection to their skywave service.
158
In the 1980 Clear
(Continued from previous page)
suggest elimination of Class A station protection during critical hours. Burrow Comments at 4; Gehman Comments
at 14.
150
H&D and Sellmeyer advocate eliminating Alaskan Class A status, stating that Alaskan stations should be
protected to their 1 or 2 mV/m groundwave contour based on RSS rather than a single signal. See H&D Comments
at 5; Sellmeyer Comments at 9. Burrow, on the other hand, suggests we “increase and standardize” the Alaskan
protected skywave contour. Burrow Comments at 2.
151
IHM Comments at 16-17.
152
IHM Reply at 12-14 and Attachment 1.
153
Letter to Marlene Dortch, Secretary, from Marissa G. Repp, Esq., counsel for IHM, at 1 (May 13, 2015) (“IHM
May Ex Parte Letter”) (accessible at http://appsint.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment/view?id=60001031543 ).
154
Id. at 13-14.
155
IHM Comments at 17. IHM states that these phenomena occur when stations occasionally neglect to reduce
power at sunset to protect existing Class A stations. See also IHM May Ex Parte Letter at 2.
156
Fybush Comments at 18. Fybush argues that there are still substantial areas of the U.S. with no AM nighttime
service and spotty FM service, making Class A skywave service important. While conceding that most Class A
stations derive little or no economic benefit from their skywave service, he advises moving cautiously on
eliminating protections to such service. Id. See also Todd Comments at 2 (Class A stations should be protected
only to double their daytime service radius at night, but should not eliminate all skywave protection).
157
Pavlica Comments at 5. See also NAAMB Comments at 12 (while proposing reductions in protection to Class A
stations, also proposes increasing Class A power up to 100 kW day and 50 kW night).
158
Clear Channel Broadcasting in the AM Broadcast Band, Report and Order, 78 F.C.C.2d 1345, 1364 (1980)
(“1980 Clear Channel Order”).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
26
Channel Order, the Commission noted that increasing spectrum demands required that protection of such
stations (then designated Class I-A stations) beyond the nighttime 0.5 mV/m-50 percent contour, as well
as certain restrictions on adjacent-channel stations, be abolished.
159
In this proceeding, spectrum scarcity
is not the problem as much as is the need for existing AM stations to overcome an increasing noise floor
that inhibits local service, both day and night. While reducing protection to a Class A AM station may, in
fact, reduce the coverage of that station, the areas of reduced coverage would be located at great distances
from the transmitter and from the metropolitan area that constitutes the station’s primary service area. At
the same time, the reduction in protection may well allow power increases for other stations, enabling
them better to serve their communities and, in the case of some stations, allowing for the first-ever
fulltime AM service to those communities. Our goal of localism suggests that service from a local news
and information source should be preferred over better reception of a more distant signal.
56. We tentatively conclude, therefore, that (1) all Class A stations should be protected, both
day and night, to their 0.1 mV/m groundwave contour, from co-channel stations; (2) all Class A stations
should continue to be protected to the 0.5 mV/m groundwave contour, both day and night, from first
adjacent channel stations; and (3) the critical hours protection of Class A stations should be eliminated
completely. We seek comment on these proposals. Specifically, we seek comment on the populations
that would lose service from Class A stations under this proposal and, to the extent ascertainable, whether
such populations currently avail themselves of the service that would be lost. We also seek data on areas
and populations in the United States, if any, that receive service only from Class A AM stations, whether
day or night. Conversely, we request specific comment as to the numbers of stations that would be able
to increase power, daytime and nighttime, under our proposal and what populations would gain service
from those power increases.
57. Also, we would appreciate technical comment concerning the net effect on listeners that
could result from the combination of reduced protection to Class A stations and power increases by co-
and adjacent-channel stations that this proposal would allow. Would, in fact, such power increases cause
more loss of service to listeners of Class A stations than gains in such service to listeners of upgrading
stations?
160
Would current listeners of Class A skywave service, not located near stations able to avail
themselves of power increases due to this proposal, nevertheless experience a reduction in skywave
service from Class A stations? Would the proposed changes disproportionately affect listeners in rural
and/or tribal areas? What effects, if any, would changes in protection to Class A stations have on EAS
Primary Entry Point stations during emergencies?
161
Alternatively, should we consider another level of
protection to Class A stations, whether greater or less than that proposed and, if so, what should that
protection be? We seek comment also on whether critical hours protection, if not eliminated, should
alternatively be modified? Finally, we seek comment on any costs that are likely to result from adoption
of these proposals or from any alternatives proposed by commenters.
2. Change Nighttime RSS Calculation Methodology
58. Background. Several commenters also proposed changes to the methodology used to
predict nighttime root-sum-square (“RSS”) values of both interfering field strengths from other AM
stations, and nighttime interference-free coverage. Specifically, these commenters ask that we return to
the RSS prediction method in existence before the Commission’s 1991 rule changes, in the same
proceeding in which the Ratchet Rule was introduced.
162

159
Id. at 1364, 1372.
160
See, e.g., Letter to Marlene Dortch, Secretary, from Marissa G. Repp, Esq., counsel for IHM, at 2 (Oct. 1, 2015)
(“IHM October Ex Parte Letter”) (accessible at http://appsint.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment/view?id=60001303908).
161
Id.
162
See Review of the Technical Assignment Criteria for the AM Broadcast Service, Report and Order, 6 FCC Rcd
6273 (1991) (“Technical Assignment Criteria”).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
27
59. Prior to Technical Assignment Criteria, nighttime RSS values of interfering field
strengths and nighttime interference-free coverage were based on calculating the RSS of all interfering
signals using the 50 percent exclusion method.
163
Only co-channel interfering signals were considered.
In Technical Assignment Criteria, the Commission changed our method of calculation to include
adjacent-channel signals, and to use a tiered system of RSS calculations. Specifically, the approach
distinguishes among high interferers – those that contribute to another station’s RSS (50 percent
exclusion), medium interferers that contribute to the RSS (25 percent exclusion) but not the RSS (50
percent exclusion), and low interferers that are no greater than the RSS (25 percent exclusion).
164
The
high interferers were made subject to the Ratchet Rule and could not make facility changes without
reducing their RSS contribution by ten percent or more; the medium interferers were allowed to make
facility changes only if no increase in radiation were created; and the low interferers could increase
radiation as long as the RSS (25 percent) threshold was not exceeded.
60. As was the case with the Ratchet Rule, commenters state that, despite the Commission’s
intentions in Technical Assignment Criteria, which were to decrease station-to-station interference in the
AM service, in practice the effect was to stifle facility improvements, resulting in very little in the way of
decreased interference. For example, commenter DLR argues that the 25 percent exclusion provisions
were introduced primarily to facilitate the Ratchet Rule and would be unnecessary should that rule be
repealed.
165
DLR also states that the 25 percent exclusion method complicates nighttime allocation
calculations and protection requirements and reduces flexibility for AM station improvement and
relocation.
166
Additionally, DLR contends that consideration of adjacent-channel stations in making
interference calculations is unnecessary, claiming that the Commission instituted this rule in anticipation
of wide-band AM receivers that never made it to market.
167
Other commenters concurred in the opinion
that a return to the 50 percent exclusion method used prior to 1991, considering only the skywave
contributions to RSS calculations of co-channel stations, would enable AM broadcasters to improve their
facilities and signals and, thus, overcome the increasing noise floor.
168
61. Discussion. We agree with the commenters addressing this issue that, just as with the
Ratchet Rule, the 1991 nighttime skywave interference regulations were well-intentioned but, in
retrospect, did not achieve their intended goals and have resulted in unintended adverse consequences.
When the current approach was adopted in 1991, the Commission anticipated that the inclusion of first-
adjacent channel stations in these calculations would restrict the creation of new interference and reduce

163
See generally 47 C.F.R. § 73.182. See also Technical Assignment Criteria, 6 FCC Rcd at 6293 n.32 (“The RSS
is a mathematical procedure which involves taking the square-root of the sum of the squares of interfering signals.
This is often referred to as the Eu for the subject station and represents the usable field strength for the station in the
presence of interference from other stations. It is used for both interference and coverage purposes. The FCC rules
require that the normally protected contour, Enom, or the Eu be protected from interference, whichever is greater.”)
The RSS 50% exclusion method consists of considering all of the nighttime interfering signals in decreasing order of
magnitude, and calculating the RSS of the interfering signals, i.e., the running RSS. When the next contributor is
less than 50 percent of the running RSS, it and all lesser interferers are excluded from the sum and the calculation
process stops.
164
Id. at 6295-96.
165
DLR Comments at 9.
166
Id.
167
Id. at 11.
168
Commenters in favor of eliminating first-adjacent channel contributions to RSS calculations also include
NAAMB Comments at 8; PRBA Comments at 7; WGTO Comments at 11; and Potter comments at 7. Those in
favor of returning to the 50 percent exclusion method include AFFCE Comments at 5; CDE Comments at 8; DLR
Comments at 9; H&D Comments at 4-5; Khanna Comments at 4-5; DAIJ Comments at 6-7 (also proposing that no
station entering the RSS limit with 2.5 mV/m or less should be considered for allocation purposes); NAAMB
Comments at 8; PRBA Comments at 6; Sellmeyer Comments at 9.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
28
existing interference without severely limiting an existing AM station’s ability to relocate and/or modify
its facilities. Instead, the rules have impeded facility improvements that are more necessary now than 24
years ago, because the noise floor has increased as much as or more than station-to-station interference,
and increasing signal strength to a station’s primary service area has become more of a priority than
maintenance of rules that offer a small return on interference reduction, compared to the burden they
impose on signal improvement.
62. We therefore tentatively conclude that we should roll back the 1991 rule changes as they
pertain to calculation of nighttime RSS values of interfering field strengths and nighttime interference-
free service. We propose to amend Section 78.182(k) of the Rules to return to predicting the nighttime
interference-free coverage area using only the interference contributions from co-channel stations and the
50 percent exclusion method. We seek comment on this proposal. Given that this issue was primarily
addressed in the record to date by those commenters in favor of the change we propose, we invite in
particular comment from parties with differing views, or who have technical evidence demonstrating the
effects on inter-station interference of a return to the pre-1991 rules for calculating nighttime skywave
interference. In addition, we seek comment on any costs that commenters believe would result from this
proposal.
3. Change Daytime Protection to Class B, C, and D Stations
63. Background. Commenters also proposed several changes to the rules providing daytime
protection to AM stations. The current rule, Section 73.37(a), specifies a 26 dB daytime desired to
undesired (“D/U”) protection ratio for co-channel stations, a 6 dB D/U daytime protection ratio for first
adjacent channel stations, and a 0 dB daytime D/U protection ratio for second and third adjacent channel
stations.
169
Commenters propose that we return to the pre-1991 0 dB daytime 1:1 protection ratio for first
adjacent channels;
170
change second adjacent channel groundwave protection;
171
and eliminate third
adjacent channel groundwave protection.
172
Additionally, several commenters suggest that we change the
daytime protected contours for Class B, C, and D stations.
173
64. Discussion. We believe that the three proposed changes listed above have merit, and we
tentatively conclude that they should be adopted. The proposed 0 dB daytime 1:1 first adjacent channel
protection ratio was the standard prior to 1991, and it does not appear that the post-1991 protection ratio
allows for sufficient signal strength to overcome current levels of environmental noise. Likewise, given
that third adjacent channel interference is relatively insignificant compared to environmental sources of
interference, it appears prudent to eliminate third adjacent channel groundwave protection and change

169
47 C.F.R. § 73.37(a).
170
See DLR Comments at 7-9; H&D Comments at 4; PRBA Comments at 6; Sellmeyer Comments at 7-9; CTJ
Comments at 6; Sawyer Comments at 7; Bono Comments at 6; NAAMB Comments at 8 (conditional on elimination
of hybrid IBOC); Gehman Comments at 14.
171
See CTJ Comments at 6 (change second-adjacent channel protection criteria to current third-adjacent channel
prohibition on 25 mV/m contour overlap); Arsenault Comments at 4 (reduce second-adjacent channel protection);
Bittner Comments at 1-2 (adjust second adjacent protection should be the 5.0 mV/m to 25.0 mV/m contours).
172
See PRBA Comments at 6; Arsenault Comments at 4; Sawyer Comments at 8; H&D Comments at 4; DLR
Comments at 9; NAAMB Comments at 8 (largely concurs with DLR, but believes eliminating third-adjacent
groundwave protection should occur only if hybrid IBOC is eliminated).
173
Some commenters addressing this issue suggest protecting these stations to their 2 mV/m daytime groundwave
contour. See CTI Comments at 5; H&D Comments at 4; Gehman Comments at 14 (suggests a 5 mV/m daytime
primary service area, and a 2 mV/m daytime secondary service area). Others suggest either or both of the 1 mV/m
or 2 mV/m groundwave contours for daytime protected service. See NAAMB Comments at 7 (1 mV/m for areas
with population density of 1,000 per square kilometer, 2 mV/m for less densely populated areas); Sellmeyer
Comments at 7 (1 or 2 mV/m groundwave contour); NAB Reply at 3 (1 mV/m rather than 2 mV/m). But seeMt.
Wilson Comments at 3 (should preserve daytime protection at 0.5 mV/m contour).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
29
second adjacent channel groundwave protection to match the current levels for third adjacent channel
protection. These changes are designed to allow AM stations to increase power to overcome increased
level of environmental noise. Changing the daytime primary service contour for Class B, C, and D
stations to the 2 mV/m contour harmonizes the protection with the definition of service area that was
adopted in the Rural Radio proceeding.
174
There, the Commission reasoned that, although the primary
service area for less populous (and therefore less noisy) areas could be considered the 0.5 mV/m contour,
all areas of whatever population enjoyed primary service within the 2 mV/m daytime groundwave
contour.
175
Again, reducing protection to all stations to the 2 mV/m contour allows AM broadcasters
greater flexibility to make station modifications designed to increase signal strength to their primary
service areas.
65. We therefore propose to revise Section 73.37(a) of the Rules to reflect the
aforementioned changes to daytime protected contours for Class B, C, and D AM stations. We seek
comment on this proposal. Would the proposed reductions in protection result, as we believe, in greater
flexibility for AM stations to improve their signals, or would they merely increase inter-station
interference? Would the net effect be beneficial or harmful to AM broadcasters and listeners? To the
extent possible, commenters should provide technical data in support of their arguments. In addition,
commenters should discuss and, if possible, quantify any costs they believe our proposal would entail.
B. REVISE RULE ON SITING OF FM CROSS-SERVICE FILL-IN TRANSLATORS
66. Background. Several commenters to the NPRM request that we reconsider the rules
established in the 2009 Translator Order for locating cross-service fill-in FM translators.
176
Currently,
such translators must be located such that the 60 dBµ contour of any such FM translator station must be
contained within the lesser of (a) the 2 millivolts per meter (mV/m) daytime contour of the AM station, or
(b) a 25-mile radius centered at the AM transmitter site.
177
67. As was the case in the proceeding leading up to the 2009 Translator Order, commenters
in this proceeding argue that the current rule is too restrictive. Some commenters maintain that the 25-
mile limitation is arbitrary, or that it unfairly penalizes stations located far from cities due to land costs or
those that have deep nulls in their directional patterns.
178
Others advocate eliminating the 25-mile
restriction and would have us allow the translator to be sited anywhere within the 2 mV/m contour.
179

Others suggest even more flexibility: Cavell asks us to seek comment on what restrictions would enable
an AM station using an FM translator to achieve “signal parity” with an FM translator rebroadcasting an
FM full-power station (but not beyond the AM station’s 0.5 mV/m contour),
180
while NPR suggests
“modest flexibility” in cross-service translator siting, in the event that the AM station were to make a

174
Policies to Promote Rural Radio Service and to Streamline Allotment and Assignment Procedures, Second Order
on Reconsideration, 27 FCC Rcd 12829, 12838 (2012).
175
Id.
176
2009 Translator Order, 24 FCC Rcd at 9658.
177
Amendment of Service and Eligibility Rules for FM Broadcast Translator Stations, Report and Order, 24 FCC
Rcd 9642, 9642 (2009) (“2009 Translator Order”). See 47 C.F.R. § 74.1201(g).
178
See, e.g., National Translator Ass’n (“NTA”) Comments at 2-3; Kyle Magrill Reply at 6; CTJ Reply at 3; IHM
Comments at 5-6; Anderson Reply at 1; Cohen, Dippell & Everist (“CDE”) Comments at 5-6; Fitzgerald Reply at 2;
NAB Reply at 8; DeLaHunt Comments at 2; H&D Comments at 2 (anywhere w/in 25 miles regardless of daytime
coverage); Kidd Comments at 2.
179
See, e.g., Wright Comments at 2-3; Curtis Media Group (Curtis) Comments at 2; DAIJ Comments at 3; MBA
Comments at 4; K&G Comments at 3.
180
Cavell Comments at 2.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
30
subsequent technical change, based on rule changes adopted in this proceeding, that would put the
translator station out of compliance with the site restrictions.
181

  1. Discussion. In the 2009 Translator Order, the Commission adopted the current limits on
    siting of cross-service translators re-broadcasting AM stations, reaffirming that FM translators re-
    broadcasting AM stations were intended to fill service voids rather than to expand service, and that the
    adopted limits were to “ensure that fill-in cross-service translators are used in the AM station’s core
    market area, rather than in a fringe area that may be part of or near another radio market.”
    182
    However,
    we agree that some additional degree of flexibility is appropriate, especially given the factual situations
    (e.g., highly directional antenna patterns with deep signal nulls) described by some commenters. We do,
    however, continue to desire to limit cross-service translator use to an AM station’s core market. We
    therefore propose to modify Section 74.1201(g) of the Rules
    183
    to provide that the coverage contour (1
    mV/m) of an FM translator rebroadcasting an AM radio broadcast station as its primary station must be
    contained within the greater of either the 2 mV/m daytime contour of the AM station or a 25-mile (40 km)
    radius centered at the AM transmitter site, but that in no event may the translator’s 1 mV/m coverage
    contour extend beyond a 40-mile (64 km) radius centered at the AM transmitter site. We believe that this
    rule provides sufficient flexibility to provide useful signal coverage, while not allowing a cross-service
    fill-in translator to extend the station’s coverage beyond its core service area. We invite further comment
    on this proposal, including comment on any costs that commenters believe are likely to arise from the
    proposal.
    C. MODIFY PARTIAL PROOF OF PERFORMANCE RULES
  2. Background. Partial proof of performance measurements are required for AM stations
    using directional antennas whenever the licensee has reason to believe that the radiated fields may be
    exceeding the limits for which the station is authorized, and whenever minor directional antenna system
    repairs are made that result in certain changes to the station’s licensed operating parameters. Some
    commenters request that Section 73.154 of the Rules,
    184
    the current rule governing partial proof of
    performance field strength measurements for AM directional antenna arrays, be modified to require
    measurements only on radials containing a monitoring point. Currently, the rule requires field strength
    measurements on all radials with a monitoring point, as well as on radials from the latest complete field
    strength proof of performance that are adjacent to the monitored radials, if the array has fewer than four
    monitored radials.
    185
    Proponents claim that eliminating the requirement to take measurements on non-
    monitored radials will reduce the cost to maintain AM directional antenna systems in working order.
    186

  3. Discussion. We agree that the proposed reduction in measured radials would result in a
    cost savings for directional antenna system maintenance for AM broadcasters, and we do not believe that
    the proposed reduction in measured radials would result in more AM directional antenna systems being
    out of adjustment. We therefore tentatively conclude, and propose, that Section 73.154(a) be modified
    accordingly. We seek comment on this proposal, including comment on whether and to what extent the
    proposed rule modification would reduce costs to AM broadcasters employing directional antenna
    systems.

181
NPR Comments at 4.
182
2009 Translator Order, 24 FCC Rcd at 9658-59.
183
47 C.F.R. § 74.1201(g).
184
47 C.F.R. § 73.154.
185
Id., § 154(a).
186
See, e.g., DLR Comments at 16-17; NAAMB Comments at 9; PRBA Comments at 9.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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D. MODIFY RULES FOR METHOD OF MOMENTS PROOFS
71. Background. In 2008, the Commission adopted rules permitting use of Method of
Moments (“MoM”) computer modeling to verify the performance of AM station directional antenna
systems. Since then, over 220 MoM directional antenna proofs of performance have been prepared by
AM station licensees and their engineers and submitted to the Commission in support of AM station
applications for license.
72. Based on their experience gained in the seven years since the adoption of the MoM proof
rules, several technical commenters propose the following changes to the AM MoM proof rules:
? Eliminate or modify the recertification measurements requirements and removal of base sampling
devices for periodic testing in Section 73.155 of the Rules.
187

? Eliminate the requirement for reference field strength measurements (Section 73.151(c)(3) of the
Rules).
188
? Eliminate the requirement for surveying existing directional antenna arrays as long as tower
geometry is not being modified and no new towers are being added to the array.
189

? Clarify that Section 73.151(c)(1)(viii) of the Rules applies only when total capacitance used to
model base region effects exceeds 250 pF and modify same to apply only when base current
sampling is used.
190

? Permit use of MoM modeling for skirt-fed towers.
191

? Change MoM rules with regard to re-proofing when antennas are added to towers.
192
? Eliminate requirement for current distribution measurements for top-loaded or other unusual
antenna configurations when MoM or other numerical analysis method is used to determine
antenna characteristics.
193
73. Discussion. Based on the Commission’s experience with MoM proofs over the past
seven years, we believe that, except as noted below, the changes listed above are well-founded, would
improve the quality of the MoM proofs submitted to the Commission, would not result in inferior
adjustments of AM directional antenna arrays, and would eliminate some unnecessary expenses for
directional antenna array maintenance by AM station licensees. We therefore tentatively conclude that
the above-listed procedural and rule changes, with the exception of the elimination of reference field
strength measurements, should be adopted, and invite comment on these changes, particularly from AM
broadcasters operating with directional antenna arrays.
74. Rather than eliminate reference field strength measurements, which provide the only
external verification that the array is operating properly, we tentatively conclude and propose that Section
73.151(c)(3) be modified to require reference field strength measurements when the initial license
application is submitted for a directional antenna system based on computer modeling and sample system

187
47 C.F.R. § 73.155. See, e.g., DLR Comments at 19-20; H&D Comments at 8-9; NAAMB Comments at 9.
188
47 C.F.R. § 73.151(c)(3). See H&D Comments at 8-9.
189
See, e.g., DLR Comments at 20-21; H&D Comments at 8-9; Sellmeyer Comments at 13. But see NAAMB
Comments at 10 (favoring retention of surveying requirements).
190
47 C.F.R. § 73.151(c)(1)(viii). See, e.g., DLR Comments at 21-22; H&D Comments at 8-9; NAAMB Comments
at 10; Sellmeyer Comments at13.
191
See H&D Comments at 8-9; Sellmeyer Comments at 12.
192
See DLR Comments at 22; NAAMB Comments at 10.
193
See H&D Comments at 8.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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verification. Subsequent licenses for the same directional antenna system and physical facilities will not
require submission of new reference field strength measurements. We seek comment on whether, instead
of eliminating recertification measurements, we should modify the rules to require them within a specific
time period near, but prior to, the submission of the station’s license renewal application, or at some other
time interval. What constraints should we impose on the physical model of a skirt-fed antenna element in
the MoM computer program? Due to the complexity of modeling a skirt-fed tower, should we require use
of specific MoM software to model them? What requirements should we specify for sampling systems
for skirt-fed antenna elements? What costs, if any, are likely to arise as a result of any of the foregoing
proposals?
E. REQUIRE SURRENDER OF LICENSES BY DUAL EXPANDED BAND /
STANDARD BAND LICENSEES
75. Background. In the proceeding that included Technical Assignment Criteria, the
Commission adopted rules and procedures for initial licensing of stations in the 1605-1705 kHz AM band
(“Expanded Band”). In opening up the Expanded Band, the Commission’s intent was to selectively open
the ten Expanded Band frequencies to those existing AM stations that most significantly contributed to
congestion and interference in the standard AM band, removing interference from the standard band and
providing those stations with more robust, interference-free service in the Expanded Band.
194
To ease the
financial uncertainty of migrating to the then-new and untested Expanded Band, the Commission
established a five-year transition period, during which migrating stations would hold licenses in both the
Expanded Band and standard AM band, and could simulcast programming over both.
195
After the five-
year transition period, each dual-station licensee would be required to surrender either its standard band or
its Expanded Band license.
196
76. The Commission has never abandoned the requirement that the dual standard/Expanded
band stations relinquish one of their authorizations,
197
and many such stations have done so.
198
The 25
remaining such station pairs, listed in Appendix F, negate the intent of Technical Assignment Criteria to
reduce interference in the standard AM band, and their retention of both authorizations disserves the other
licensees who complied with the relinquishment requirement. Moreover, as seen below in the Notice of
Inquiry, we are seeking comment as to whether and how to open the Expanded Band to more AM
broadcasters.

194
Technical Assignment Criteria, 6 FCC Rcd at 6276, 6310.
195
Id. at 6319-20. The five-year period was set forth in a condition to each Expanded Band license, and began to
run as of the date of initial licensing in the Expanded Band.
196
Id. at 6320.
197
Id. There have been isolated exceptions to this policy in unique factual situations. For example, the Media
Bureau approved the assignment of Expanded Band KYHN, Ft. Smith, Arkansas, from Capstar TX LLC (also
licensee of standard band KWHN, Ft. Smith, Arkansas) to MMTC Broadcasting LLC. File No. BAL-
20100706JZM; see Capstar TX LLC and MMTC Broadcasting LLC, Letter, Ref. No. 1800B3-TSN (MB Oct. 21,
2010). In that case, KYHN was silent and had sustained flood-related damage, and the Bureau reasoned that
Capstar’s donation of the facility to MMTC, which planned to use KYHN to train women and minority group
members in broadcasting and broadcast management, advanced the diversity goals set forth in the pending
proceeding Promoting Diversification of Ownership in the Broadcasting Services, Report and Order and Third
Notice of Proposed Rule Making, 23 FCC Rcd 5922, 5952-54 (2008) (“Diversity Order”).
198
A total of 88 Expanded Band channels were originally allotted. There were 67 applications filed for Expanded
Band allotments, of which 66 construction permits were granted, with one application still pending. Licenses were
granted to 54 stations that migrated from the standard AM band to the Expanded Band. Of those, 22 unconditionally
surrendered their standard band licenses and remained in the Expanded Band; three conditionally surrendered their
standard band licenses, and four standard band licenses were canceled by the Commission. The Commission also
received one unconditional surrender of an Expanded Band authorization and one conditional surrender, and it
canceled one Expanded Band license.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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77. Discussion. Given our consideration of further utilization of the Expanded Band, along
with our general concern for revitalization of the AM service, we see no justification for allowing licensee
retention of high-interfering standard band stations along with the Expanded Band stations meant to
replace them. We therefore tentatively conclude that any licensee with dual standard/Expanded Band
authorizations, listed in Appendix F, should be required to surrender one of the two authorizations within
one year of release of a future Report and Order in this proceeding adopting this proposal. We tentatively
conclude that the required election should be made by the station licensee in writing, by letter delivered to
the Office of the Secretary, with copy to the Media Bureau, Audio Division, not later than twelve months
following release of a future Report and Order adopting this proposal, or such other date as is established
in the Report and Order and/or in any notice delivered to the licensee by the Media Bureau. We further
tentatively conclude that, should a station not make the election regarding which of the two authorizations
it wishes to retain within the required time period, we should cancel their standard band authorization and
require them to operate only as authorized in the Expanded Band.
199
We seek comment on these
proposals, including any comments in favor of licensee retention of dual authorizations, comments on
whether we should adopt a shorter or longer deadline for the required election, comments regarding the
effect of such retention of dual authorizations on the AM service generally and the Expanded Band
specifically, and comments on any costs associated with surrender of these authorizations.
V. NOTICE OF INQUIRY
A. UTILIZATION OF AM EXPANDED BAND
78. Background. In Technical Assignment Criteria,
200
as discussed above, the Commission
established rules and policies for stations initially licensed in the Expanded Band, including technical
rules.
201
For example, it decided to administer channels in the Expanded Band on an allotment basis
based on fixed technical parameters, similar to allotments in the FM broadcast band, rather than on an
assignment basis as in the standard band, in which the technical facilities of each station are uniquely
designed to avoid interference to other stations on the band.
202
79. A total of 88 Expanded Band channels were originally allotted, and licenses were granted
to 54 stations that migrated from the standard AM band to the Expanded Band. We have already
proposed above to require the remaining 25 dual standard-Expanded Band station pairs to surrender one
authorization each. Now that we have some experience with actual, operating Expanded Band AM
stations, we now inquire whether to open up the Expanded Band to additional stations, and under what
conditions.

199
A number of the stations still holding dual standard band/Expanded Band authorizations have filed requests for
waiver of the surrender condition and prohibition against sale of one of the authorizations found in Technical
Assignment Criteria, 6 FCC Rcd at 6320. These include: (1) Request for Waiver of Rules Requiring Return of AM
Licenses, MM Docket No. 87-267, filed jointly by AMFM Radio Licenses, LLC; Capstar TX Limited Partnership;
CC Licenses, LLC; Clear Channel Broadcasting Licenses, Inc.; Entercom Kansas City License, LLC; Chisholm
Trail Broadcasting Co.; Fife Communications Co., LLC; Hundley Batts, Sr. and Virginia Caples; Mid-West
Management, Inc.; Mortenson Broadcasting Co. of Texas, Inc.; Multicultural Radio Broadcasting Licensee, LLC;
Way Broadcasting Licensee, LLC; Starboard Media Foundation; Waitt Omaha, LLC; Independent Spanish
Broadcasters Association; MMTC; National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters; Office of Communication
of the United Church of Christ, Inc.; and United Broadcasting Co. (“Joint Petitioners”) (Mar. 27, 2006); (2) Petition
for Stay of Effective Dates, MM Docket No. 87-267, filed by Joint Petitioners (Mar. 27, 2006); (3) Request for
Relief from Condition or, in the Alternative, Request for Waiver, filed by IHR Educational Broadcasting (Aug. 18,
2006); and (4) Request for Relief from License Condition, filed by Salem Media of Colorado, Inc. (Jan. 9, 2006).
200
See supra note 162, 6 FCC Rcd at 6302-6323.
201
See generally id. at 6311-14, 6321-23.
202
Id. at 6311-14. See 47 C.F.R. § 73.30.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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80. Several commenters remark that the Expanded Band is underutilized and should be
opened up to more stations.
203
Some prefer, as before, that the Expanded Band be used for stations
migrating from the standard band;
204
others believe that preference should first be given to applicants for
new AM stations,
205
licensed daytime AM stations,
206
or licensed or new AM stations proposing all-digital
operation.
207
Most who address the Expanded Band state that we should assign stations in that band in the
same way they are assigned in the standard AM band, rather than continuing the allotment procedures
currently used in the Expanded Band.
208
Commenters also urge that a station migrating from the standard
band to the Expanded Band relinquish its standard band license shortly after initiating Expanded Band
service.
209
81. Although many commenters address the use of the Expanded Band in helping to
revitalize the AM service, there are a number of procedural and practical decisions to be made before
proposing rules for further utilization of that band. We believe that a more complete record is needed
before proposing rules regarding further expansion of the 1605-1705 kHz band.
82. Discussion. As a threshold matter, we ask commenters whether they believe that opening
the Expanded Band to further development would be beneficial to revitalization of the AM service.
Assuming agreement with that premise, who should be allowed to receive authorizations in the Expanded
Band? Should preference be given to new stations, to migrators from the standard band, to stations
planning all-digital operation, or should some other criterion be established? If we were to open the
Expanded Band to new stations, an auction filing window would need to be opened, and mutually
exclusive applications would be subject to all competitive bidding procedures, including threshold
Section 307(b) comparisons and possible auctions. Additionally, if we were to open the band to major
modifications, any mutually exclusive groups including major modification applications would have the
opportunity for settlements or technical resolutions.
210
If we were to reserve the Expanded Band for
migrators from the standard AM band, should we open a window, waive the major change rule, and allow
migrators to apply as minor modifications on a first-come, first-served basis, or use some other
mechanism (as, for example, the initial assignment of stations to the Expanded Band by prioritizing major
interferers).
211
With regard to migrating stations, we tentatively agree with those commenters who have
suggested that, in the event we allow such migration, a “flash cut” from the standard band authorization to
the Expanded Band operation should take place, that is, the standard band authorization would be
relinquished upon commencing Expanded Band transmissions. We seek other views on this matter,
however.

203
See, e.g., Heller Comments at 3; RAFTT Comments at 11; Fybush Comments at 10. Additionally, some
commenters suggest that we allow AM stations on 530 kHz, and establish further expanded bands. See, e.g.,
Sellmeyer Comments at 10; Bittner Reply at 5; BWWG Comments at 5; H&D Comments at 5 (all advocating use of
530 kHz); NAAMB Comments at 9 (use 530 kHz for digital-only stations). See also Heller Comments at 4 (open
1705-1800 kHz as additional AM band); NAAMB Comments at 9 (open 520 kHz and 1710-1790 kHz); Joshua
Lehan Comments (1710-1800 kHz); Gilstrap Comments at 9 (expand AM broadcast band into 90- and 120-meter
shortwave bands).
204
See, e.g., Heller Comments at 3.
205
See, e.g., Sawyer Comments at 6;
206
See, e.g., Meuser Comments at 6-7.
207
See Kintronic Reply at 20-21.
208
See, e.g., H&D Comments at 5; DLR Comments at 16; CTJ Reply at 3-4.
209
See, e.g., RAFTT Comments at 13; Mullaney Reply at 2.
210
47 C.F.R. § 73.5002(d)(1), (2).
211
See Technical Assignment Criteria, 6 FCC Rcd at 6277.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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83. With regard to Expanded Band technical facilities, currently stations in the Expanded
Band are allotted on a minimum distance separation standard similar to FM stations, rather than the
contour-protection procedures used for standard band AM stations. As noted in Technical Assignment
Criteria, assigning channels based on contour protection maximizes the number of stations on each
channel, whereas allotting stations based on spacing was believed to promote a higher-quality technical
service in the Expanded Band.
212
Commenters favoring opening up the Expanded Band overwhelmingly
prefer instituting contour protection standards. We seek comment on the relative merits of each method
of channel assignment or allotment. Additionally, to the extent commenters favor contour protection,
they should also address whether compliance with contour protection standards should be limited to use
of M3 ground conductivity for contour prediction, or should we allow use of measured ground
conductivities in predicting contours?
84. We also seek comment on whether to allow other classes and powers of stations (except
for Class D stations, which are no longer authorized), to the extent permitted by our international
agreements, or whether we should authorize the same power (e.g., 10 kW day / 1 kW night) for all new
Expanded Band stations. A related question would be whether to allow complex directional patterns in
the Expanded Band or limit applications to non-directional and simple directional (i.e., no more than
three-tower array) stations. If commenters were to favor limiting the Expanded Band to all-digital
stations, we would seek comment as to the contour protections and allocation standards for all-digital
operation. We note that, at the moment, testing is continuing with regard to all-digital (as opposed to
hybrid digital) AM operations, and the record is not yet established on the technical standards needed to
establish interference protection for digital-to-digital stations, much less digital-to-analog or digital-to-
hybrid. The absence of a technical record leads us to believe that it may be premature to discuss limiting
the Expanded Band to all-digital operation; however we welcome comments that include technical data
that would further inform us on this issue.
B. RELAXED MAIN STUDIO REQUIREMENTS
85. Background. Section 73.1125(a) provides, in pertinent part, that “each AM, FM, and TV
broadcast station shall maintain a main studio” at a location complying with paragraphs (a)(1) – (a)(3) of
that section.
213
Moreover, the Commission has long held that a station must, at a minimum, maintain full-
time managerial and full-time staff personnel at its main studio.
214
86. Commenters Blount Masscom, Inc., et al., note that the Commission often grants waivers
of the main studio requirement to NCE stations, allowing them to co-locate a station’s main studio at the
studio of another station licensed to the same licensee that may be outside the locations allowed by
Section 73.1125(a).
215
Blount further observes that the language of Section 73.1125(d)(2) contemplates
the filing of such waivers by commercial stations, although such waivers are seldom if ever granted.
216

Stating that waivers allowing AM stations to co-locate studios with co-owned stations could provide an
“immediate financial shot in the arm” to AM stations under financial stress, Blount proposes that AM
station owners be allowed to request such waivers, or at a minimum that certain classes of AM stations,

212
Id. at 6311-12.
213
47 C.F.R. § 73.1125(a). The acceptable locations of a main studio are: (1) within the station’s community of
license; (2) at any location within the principal community contour of any AM, FM, or TV broadcast station
licensed to the station’s community of license; or (3) within 25 miles from the reference coordinates of the center of
the station’s community of license as described in 47 C.F.R. § 73.208(a)(1).
214
Jones Eastern of the Outer Banks, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 6 FCC Rcd 3615, 3616 (1991).
215
Blount Masscom, Inc., K.W. Dolmar Broadcasting Co., Inc., Blount Communications of NH, Inc., and Blount
Communications, Inc. (“Blount”) Comments at 2.
216
Id. at 3.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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notably Class D stations, be allowed to do so.
217
Blount further proposes that AM stations without co-
owned main studios available should be allowed to adopt relaxed staffing requirements, such as requiring
staffing only during part of the day or week, or allowing the use of technology to permit members of the
public to contact station personnel who are not physically present at the main studio.
218
It argues that the
cost savings would justify such relaxed requirements, as the loss of an AM voice in the community would
be more detrimental to the public than having a main studio that is not fully staffed.
219
Three other
commenters support Blount’s proposals.
220
87. Discussion. The Commission has historically considered a station’s main studio to
constitute the location from which the station can adequately meet its function of serving the needs and
interests of the residents of the station’s community of license.
221
This includes being adequately
equipped to transmit programming, having a meaningful management and staff presence, and serving as a
location for the station’s public file.
222
As discussed in the First Report and Order, we continue to
emphasize a station’s function of meeting the needs and interests of its community. At the same time,
however, we are aware of the financial strain on many AM broadcasters. Moreover, as Blount points out,
advances in technology can enable members of the community to contact station personnel without
having to physically visit the main studio. These include e-mail, mobile telephones, and the Internet. In
fact, we have recently proposed requiring AM and FM broadcast stations to post their public files to the
Commission’s online database, which would make them accessible without the need for visiting a
station’s offices or main studio.
223
88. Despite these advances in accessibility to broadcast stations and their personnel, we are
reluctant to eliminate main studio requirements entirely, because of the aforementioned importance of the
main studio to the goal of ensuring station compliance with local service obligations. We therefore seek
comment on whether, and how, to modify the main studio rule in light of our goal in this proceeding to
revitalize the AM service. Should we continue to address waivers of the main studio rule on a case-by-
case basis, but be more open to such requests by commercial stations that can co-locate in studio facilities
used by co-owned stations in a given market? Assuming that we allow relaxation of the requirement that
each station maintain a separate main studio, is there a maximum number of co-located stations that we
should allow under one roof? If we were to allow co-location of two or more stations, should we further
relax the requirements by allowing one or more of the stations to be located outside of the area dictated by
Sections 73.1125(a)(1) through (a)(3)? If one or more co-located stations are allowed to locate outside
the rule requirements, should there be an absolute restriction on the distance a co-locating station may
move its studio from its community of license? Moreover, should we, as Blount suggests, relax the
staffing requirement of full-time management and staff presence for AM stations that do not have co-
owned stations with which to co-locate studio facilities? Should any such relaxation of staffing
requirements necessarily be limited to such “stand alone” AM stations? If we were to relax staffing

217
Id.
218
Id.
219
Id.
220
See NRB Comments at 3; Osenkowsky Comments at 2; Salem Reply at 4. See also Bono Comments at 2 (allow
main studio to be located anywhere within 40 miles of community of license); Word Power Reply at 2-3 (no
broadcaster with fewer than seven stations should be subject to any rules, including main studio rules, other than
technical rules).
221
Amendment of Sections 73.1125 and 73.1130 of the Commission’s Rules, the Main Studio and Program
Origination Rules for Radio and Television Broadcast Stations, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 3 FCC Rcd 5024,
5026 (1988).
222
Id.
223
Expansion of Online Public File Obligations, Notice of Proposed Rule Making, 29 FCC Rcd 15943 (2014).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
37
requirements, what if any conditions should be put in place to ensure that members of the public could
contact station personnel and receive timely responses? Should we require that local mobile phone
numbers for station management and staff be posted or otherwise publicized? Should any relaxation of
main studio or staffing rules be linked to a station’s posting of its public file to the Commission online
database? We seek comment addressing these and any other matters pertaining to AM stations’
maintenance of fully staffed local main studios. In particular, we invite comment on the cost reductions
that may result from modification of the main studio rule.
VI. PROCEDURAL MATTERS
A. First Report and Order
1. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
89. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (“RFA”),
224
the Commission has
prepared a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (“FRFA”) relating to this First R&O. The FRFA is set
forth in Appendix B.
2. Final Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis
90. This First R&O adopts new or revised information collection requirements, subject to the
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (“PRA”).
225
These information collection requirements will be
submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for review under Section 3507(d) of the
PRA. The Commission will publish a separate notice in the Federal Register inviting comment on the new
or revised information collection requirement(s) adopted in this document. The requirement(s) will not
go into effect until OMB has approved it and the Commission has published a notice announcing the
effective date of the information collection requirement(s). In addition, we note that pursuant to the Small
Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), we previously
sought specific comment on how the Commission might “further reduce the information collection
burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.”
226
91. Further Information. For additional information concerning the information collection
requirements contained in this First Report and Order, contact Cathy Williams at 202-418-2918, or via
the Internet to Cathy.Williams@fcc.gov.
3. Congressional Review Act
92. The Commission will send a copy of this First Report and Order in a report to be sent to
Congress and the Government Accountability Office, pursuant to the Congressional Review Act.
227
B. Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making
1. Filing Requirements.
93. Ex Parte Rules. The proceeding this FNPRM initiates shall be treated as a “permit-but-
disclose” proceeding in accordance with the Commission’s ex parte rules. Persons making ex parte
presentations must file a copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral
presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the

224
See 5 U.S.C. § 604. The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. § 601 et. seq., has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (“SBREFA”), Pub. L. No. 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 847 (1996). The SBREFA
was enacted as Title II of the Contract With America Advancement Act of 1996 (“CWAAA”).
225
The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (“PRA”), Pub. L. No. 104-13, 109 Stat 163 (1995) (codified in 44 U.S.C.
§§ 3501-3520).
226
Rural NPRM, 24 FCC Rcd at 5261; 74 Fed. Reg. 22498, 22505 (May 13, 2009).
227
See 5 U.S.C. § 801(a)(1)(A).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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Sunshine period applies). Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda
summarizing the presentation must (1) list all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting
at which the ex parte presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made
during the presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or
arguments already reflected in the presenter’s written comments, memoranda or other filings in the
proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments,
memoranda, or other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or
arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given
to Commission staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must
be filed consistent with Section 1.1206(b) of the rules.
228
In proceedings governed by Section 1.49(f) of
the rules or for which the Commission has made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte
presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, must
be filed through the electronic comment filing system available for that proceeding, and must be filed in
their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding should
familiarize themselves with the Commission’s ex parte rules.
94. Comments and Reply Comments. Pursuant to Sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the rules,
229
interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the first
page of this document. Comments may be filed using the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing
System (“ECFS”).
230
95. Electronic Filers. Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing
the ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.
96. Paper Filers. Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of
each filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding,
filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number.
97. Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or
by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal. All filings must be addressed to the Commission’s Secretary,
Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
? All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission’s
Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12
th
Street, SW, Room
TW-A325, Washington, D.C. 20554. The filing hours at this location are 8:00
a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or
fasteners. Any envelopes must be disposed of before entering the building.
? Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and
Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD
20743.
? U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority Mail must be addressed to
445 12th Street, SW, Washington, D.C. 20554.
98. People with Disabilities. To request materials in accessible formats for people with
disabilities (braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov, or call
the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY).

228
47 C.F.R. § 1.1206(b).
229
47 C.F.R. §§ 1.415, 1.419.
230
See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 63 Fed. Reg.
24121 (1998).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
39
99. Additional Information. For additional information on this proceeding, contact Thomas
S. Nessinger, Thomas.Nessinger@fcc.gov, of the Media Bureau, Audio Division, (202) 418-2700.
C. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis.
100. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (“RFA”), requires that a regulatory
flexibility analysis be prepared for notice and comment rule making proceedings, unless the agency
certifies that “the rule will not, if promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial
number of small entities.” The RFA generally defines the term “small entity” as having the same
meaning as the terms “small business,” “small organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.” In
addition, the term “small business” has the same meaning as the term “small business concern” under the
Small Business Act. A “small business concern” is one which: (1) is independently owned and operated;
(2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the
Small Business Administration (“SBA”).
101. With respect to this Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making (“FNPRM”), an Initial
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (“IRFA”) under the Regulatory Flexibility Act
231
is contained in
Appendix D. Written public comments are requested in the IFRA, and must be filed in accordance with
the same filing deadlines as comments on the FNPRM, with a distinct heading designating them as
responses to the IRFA. The Commission will send a copy of this FNPRM, including the IRFA, in a
report to Congress pursuant to the Congressional Review Act. In addition, a copy of this FNPRM and the
IRFA will be sent to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA, and will be published in the Federal
Register.
D. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis.
102. This document contains proposed new information collection requirements. The
Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, invites the general public and
the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) to comment on the information collection requirements
contained in this document, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (“PRA”), Public Law
104-13. In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198,
see 44 U.S.C. § 3506(c)(4), we seek specific comment on how we might “further reduce the information
collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.” Written comments on
possible new and modified information collections must be submitted on or before 60 days after date of
publication in the Federal Register. In addition to filing comments with the Secretary, a copy of any
Paperwork Reduction Act comments on the information collection(s) contained herein should be
submitted to Cathy Williams, Federal Communications Commission, via the Internet to
Cathy.Williams@fcc.gov, and to Nicholas Fraser, OMB Desk Officer, via the Internet to
Nicholas_A._Fraser@omb.eop.gov or by fax to 202-395-5167.
103. For additional information concerning the information collection(s) contained in this
document, contact Cathy Williams at 202-418-2918, or via the Internet at Cathy.Williams@fcc.gov.
VII. ORDERING CLAUSES
104. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that pursuant to the authority contained in Sections 1, 2,
4(i), 303, 307, and 309(j) of the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151, 152, 154(i), 303, 307,
and 309(j), that this First Report and Order IS ADOPTED.
105. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to sections 4(i), 301, 303(r), 316, and 403 of
the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 301, 303(r), 316, 403, this Further
Notice of Proposed Rule Making IS ADOPTED.

231
See 5 U.S.C. § 603.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
40
106. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to the authority found in Sections 1, 2, 4(i),
303, 307, and 309(j) of the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151, 152, 154(i), 303, 307, and
309(j), the Commission’s Rules ARE HEREBY AMENDED as set forth in Appendix A.
107. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the rules adopted herein WILL BECOME
EFFECTIVE 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register, except for Section 73.1560,
which contains new or modified information collection requirements that require approval by the Office
of Management and Budget (“OMB”) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), and which WILL
BECOME EFFECTIVE after the Commission publishes a notice in the Federal Register announcing such
approval and the relevant effective date.
108. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau,
Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a copy of this Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,
including the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small
Business Administration, and shall cause it to be published in the Federal Register.
109. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, pursuant to Sections 1, 303(g), and 403 of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151, 303(g), and 403, and Section 1.430 of the
Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. § 1.430, that this Notice of Inquiry IS ADOPTED.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Marlene H. Dortch
Secretary
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
41
APPENDIX A
Final Rule Changes
Part 73 of Chapter 1 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:
1. The authority citation for part 73 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 303, 334, 336, and 339.
2. Add the following definition to Section 73.14:
§ 73.14 AM broadcast definitions.


Modulation dependent carrier level (MDCL) control technologies. Transmitter control
techniques that vary either the carrier power level or both the carrier and sideband power levels as
a function of the modulation level.


  1. Revise paragraphs (a)(2) and (a)(3) of § 73.21 to read as follows:
    § 73.21 Classes of AM broadcast channels and stations.
    (a) * * * * *
    (2) * * * Class B stations are authorized to operate with a minimum power of 0.25 kW (or, if less
    than 0.25 kW, an equivalent RMS antenna field of at least 107.5 mV/m at 1 kilometer) and a
    maximum power of 50 kW, or 10 kW for stations that are authorized to operate in the 1605-1705
    kHz band.
    (3) * * * A Class D station operates either daytime, limited time or unlimited time with nighttime
    power less than 0.25 kW and an equivalent RMS antenna field of less than 107.5 mV/m at 1
    kilometer. * * *

  1. Revise paragraph (i) of § 73.24 to read as follows:
    § 73.24 Broadcast facilities; showing required.

(i) That, for all proposals for new stations, applications to modify a construction permit for an
unlicensed station, and all applications to change a station’s community of license, the daytime 5
mV/m contour encompasses the entire principal community to be served. That, for all other
applications for modification of licensed stations, the daytime 5 mV/m contour encompasses
either 50 percent of the area, or 50 percent of the population, of the principal community to be
served. That, for all proposals for new stations in the 535-1605 kHz band, applications to modify
a construction permit for an unlicensed station, or applications to change a station’s community
of license, either 50 percent of the area, or 50 percent of the population of the principal
community is encompassed by the nighttime 5 mV/m contour or the nighttime interference-free
contour, whichever value is higher. That, for stations in the 1605-1705 kHz band, 50 percent of
the principal community is encompassed by the nighttime 5 mV/m contour or the nighttime
interference-free contour, whichever value is higher. That Class D stations with nighttime
authorizations need not demonstrate such coverage during nighttime operation.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
42


  1. Revise paragraphs (a)(1)(ii), (a)(4), (m), and Note (2) to paragraph (m) of § 73.182; remove
    Footnote 1 to paragraph (q) of § 73.182, and re-number the remaining footnotes to paragraph (q),
    to read as follows:
    § 73.182 Engineering standards of allocation.
    (a) * * * * *
    (ii) Class A stations in Alaska operate on the channels allocated by § 73.25 with a minimum
    power of 10 kW, a maximum power of 50 kW and an antenna efficiency of 215 mV/m/kW at 1
    kilometer. * * *

(4) Class D stations operate on clear and regional channels with daytime powers of not less than
0.25 kW (or equivalent RMS field of 107.5 mV/m at 1 kilometer if less than 0.25 kW) and not
more than 50 kW. Class D stations that have previously received nighttime authority to operate
with powers of less 0.25 kW (or equivalent RMS fields of less than 107.5 mV/m at 1 kilometer)
are not required to provide nighttime coverage in accordance with § 73.24(i) and are not protected
from interference during nighttime hours. * * *


(m) * * * Certain approximations, based on the curve or other appropriate theory, may be made
when other than such antennas and ground systems are employed, but in any event the effective
field to be employed shall not be less than the following:
Class of station Effective field
(at 1 km)
All Class A (except Alaskan) …………………
Class A (Alaskan), B and D …………………..
Class C ………………………………………..
275 mV/m.
215 mV/m.
180 mV/m.


Note (2): For Class B stations in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, 180
mV/m shall be used.


(q) Normally protected service contours and permissible interference signals for broadcast
stations are as follows (for Class A stations, see also paragraph (a) of this section):
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
43
Class of station
Class of channel
used
Signal strength contour of area
protected from objectionable
interference
[remove footnote reference]
(µV/m)
Permissible interfering
signal (µV/m)
Day
1
Night Day
1
Night
2
A ………………….
A (Alaskan) ………
B ………………….
C ………………….
D ………………….
Clear …………….
……do ………….
Clear …………….
Regional …………
Local …………….
Clear ……………..
Regional …………
SC 100
AC 500
SC 100
AC 500
500
500
500
SC 500 50% SW
AC 500 GW
SC 100 50% SW
AC 500 GW
2000
1
No presc.
3
Not presc.
SC 5
AC 250
SC 5
AC 250
25
AC 250
SC 25
SC 25
AC 250
SC 25
AC 250
SC 5
AC 250
25
250
Not presc.
Not presc.
[Remove current footnote 1]
1
Groundwave.
2
Skywave field strength for 10 percent or more of the time.
3
During nighttime hours, Class C stations in the contiguous 48 States may treat all Class B
stations assigned to 1230, 1240, 1340, 1400, 1450, and 1490 kHz in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico,
and the U.S. Virgin Islands as if they were Class C stations.
Note: SC = Same channel; AC = Adjacent channel; SW = Skywave; GW = Groundwave


  1. Revise paragraph (b)(2) of § 73.189 to read as follows:
    § 73.189 Minimum antenna heights or field strength requirements.

(b) * * *
(2) These minimum actual physical vertical heights of antennas permitted to be installed are
shown by curves A, B, and C of Figure 7 of § 73.190 as follows:
(i) Class C stations, and stations in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on
1230, 1240, 1340, 1400, 1450 and 1490 kHz that were formerly Class C and were redesignated as
Class B pursuant to § 73.26(b), 45 meters or a minimum effective field strength of 180 mV/m for
1 kW at 1 kilometer (90 mV/m for 0.25 kW at 1 kilometer). (This height applies to a Class C
station on a local channel only. Curve A shall apply to any Class C stations in the 48
conterminous States that are assigned to Regional channels.)
(ii) Class A (Alaska), Class B and Class D stations other than those covered in § 73.189(b)(2)(i),
a minimum effective field strength of 215 mV/m for 1 kW at 1 kilometer.
(iii) Class A stations, a minimum effective field strength of 275 mV/m for 1 kW at 1 kilometer.


Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
44
5. Revise paragraph (a)(1) of § 73.1560 to read as follows:
§ 73.1560 Operating power and mode tolerances.
(a) AM Stations. (1) Except for AM stations using modulation dependent carrier level (MDCL)
control technology, or as provided for in paragraph (d) of this section, the antenna input power of
an AM station, as determined by the procedures specified in § 73.51, must be maintained as near
as practicable to the authorized antenna input power and may not be less than 90 percent nor
greater than 105 percent of the authorized power. AM stations may, without prior Commission
authority, commence MDCL control technology use, provided that within 10 days after
commencing such operation, the licensee submits an electronic notification of commencement
of MDCL control operation using FCC Form 338. The transmitter of an AM station operating
using MDCL control technology, regardless of the MDCL control technology employed, must
achieve full licensed power at some audio input level or when the MDCL control technology is
disabled. MDCL control operation must be disabled before field strength measurements on the
station are taken.


Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
45
APPENDIX B
Proposed Rule Changes
Part 73 of Chapter 1 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations is proposed to be amended as
follows:
1. The authority citation for part 73 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 303, 334, 336, and 339.
2. Revise paragraph (a) of Section 73.21 to read as follows:
§ 73.21 Classes of AM broadcast channels and stations.
(a) * * * These stations are protected from objectionable interference within their primary service
areas. Stations operating on these channels are classified as follows:
(1) * * * A Class A station is an unlimited time station that operates on a clear channel and is
designed to render primary service over an extended area at relatively long distances from its
transmitter. Its primary service area is protected from objectionable interference from other
stations on the same and adjacent channels. * * *


  1. Remove paragraph (h) of Section 73.24 and redesignate paragraphs (i) and (j) as paragraphs (h)
    and (i), respectively, to read as follows:
    § 73.24 Broadcast facilities; showing required.

(h) [Remove]
(i) [Redesignate as (h)]


(j) [Redesignate as (i)]


  1. Revise paragraph (a) of Section 73.37 to read as follows:
    § 73.37 Applications for broadcast facilities, showing required.
    (a) * * *
    Frequency
    Separation
    (kHz)
    Contour of proposed station
    (classes B, C and D)
    (mV/m)
    Contour of any
    other station
    (mV/m)
    0 0.005
    0.100
    2.0
    0.100 (Class A)
    2.0 (Other classes)
    0.100 (Other classes)
    10 0.500
    2.0
    0.500 (Class A)
    2.0 (Other classes)
    20 25.0 25.0 (All classes)
    Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
    46

  1. Revise paragraph (c) of Section 73.151 to read as follows:
    § 73.151 Field strength measurements to establish performance of directional antennas.

(c) When the application for an initial license for a directional antenna system is submitted that is
based on computer modeling and sample system verification, reference field strength
measurement locations shall be established in the directions of pattern minima and maxima. On
each radial corresponding to a pattern minimum or maximum, there shall be at least three
measurement locations. The field strength shall be measured at each reference location at the
time of the proof of performance. The license application shall include the measured field
strength values at each reference point, along with a description of each measurement location,
including GPS coordinates and datum reference. New reference field strength measurements are
not required for subsequent license applications for the same directional antenna system and
physical facilities.


  1. Revise paragraph (a) of Section 73.154 to read as follows:
    § 73.154 AM directional antenna partial proof of performance measurements.
    (a) A partial proof of performance consists of at least 8 field strength measurements made on each
    of the radials that includes a monitoring point.
    (b) * * * * *

  1. Remove Section 73.155.
    § 73.155 Periodic directional antenna performance recertification. [Removed]
  2. Revise paragraphs (a), (c), (d), (k), (l), (o), (q), and (r) of Section 73.182; remove paragraphs
    (a)(1)(i)(A), (a)(1)(i)(B), the Note to paragraph (a)(1), paragraphs (g), (h), (k)(2), (k)(3), and the
    Note following paragraph (k)(8); and redesignate paragraphs (i) through (t) as (g) through (r), and
    paragraphs (k)(4) through (k)(8) as (k)(2) through (k)(6), to read as follows:
    § 73.182 Engineering standards of allocation.
    (a) * * *
    (1) Class A stations operate on clear channels with powers between 10 kW and 50 kW. These
    stations are designed to render primary service over a large area protected from objectionable
    interference from other stations on the same and adjacent channels. Class A stations may be
    divided into two groups: those located in any of the conterminous United States and those located
    in Alaska.
    (i) Class A stations in the conterminous United States operate on the channels assigned by
    §73.25 with minimum power of 10 kW, maximum power of 50 kW, and minimum antenna
    efficiency of 275 mV/m/kW at 1 kilometer. The Class A stations in this group are afforded
    protection, both daytime and nighttime, to the 0.1 mV/m groundwave contour from other stations
    Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
    47
    on the same channel, and are afforded both daytime and nighttime protection to the 0.5 mV/m
    groundwave contour from other stations on first adjacent channels.
    (A) [Remove]
    (B) [Remove]
    (ii) Class A stations in Alaska operate on the channels assigned by §73.25 with minimum power
    of 10 kW, maximum power of 50 kW, and minimum antenna efficiency of 215 mV/m/kW at 1
    kilometer. The Class A stations in this group are afforded protection, both daytime and
    nighttime, to the 0.1 mV/m groundwave contour from other stations on the same channel and to
    the 0.5 mV/m groundwave contour from other stations on first adjacent channels.
    Note: [Remove]
    (2) Class B stations are stations which operate on clear and regional channels with powers not
    less than 0.25 kW or greater than 50 kW. These stations render primary service, the area of which
    depends on their geographic location, power, and frequency. It is recommended that Class B
    stations be located so that the interference received from other stations will not limit the service
    area to a groundwave contour value greater than 2.0 mV/m groundwave contour both daytime
    and nighttime, which are the values for the mutual protection between this class of stations and
    other stations of the same class.

(3) Class C stations operate on local channels, normally rendering primary service to a
community and the suburban or rural areas immediately contiguous thereto, with powers not less
than 0.25 kW or greater than 1 kW, except as provided in §73.21(c)(1). Such stations are
normally protected to the daytime 2.0 mV/m contour. On local channels the separation required
for the daytime protection shall also determine the nighttime separation. Where directional
antennas are employed daytime by Class C stations operating with power equal to or greater than
0.25 kW, the separations required shall in no case be less than those necessary to afford
protection assuming nondirectional operation with power of 0.25 kW. In no case will nighttime
power of 0.25 kW or greater be authorized to a station unable to operate nondirectionally with
power of 0.25 kW during daytime hours. The actual nighttime limitation will be calculated. For
nighttime protection purposes, Class C stations in the 48 conterminous United States may assume
that stations in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands operating on 1230, 1240,
1340, 1400, 1450, and 1490 kHz are Class C stations.


(b) * * * * *
(c) All classes of AM broadcast stations have in general three types of service areas, i.e.,
primary, secondary and intermittent. (See §73.14 for the definitions of primary, secondary and
intermittent service areas.) All classes of AM stations render service to a primary area but the
secondary and intermittent service areas may be materially limited or destroyed due to
interference from other stations, depending on the station assignments involved.
(d) The groundwave signal strength required to render primary service is 2 mV/m for
communities with populations of 2,500 or more and 0.5 mV/m for communities with populations
of less than 2,500. Because only Class A stations have protected primary service extending
beyond the 2 mV/m contour, the groundwave signal strength constituting primary service for
Class A stations is that set forth in paragraphs (a)(1)(i) and (a)(1)(ii) of this section. See §73.184
for curves showing distance to various groundwave field strength contours for different
frequencies and ground conductivities, and also see §73.183, “Groundwave signals.”
(e) * * * * *
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
48
(f) * * * * *
(g) [Remove]
(h) [Remove]
(i) [Redesignate as (g)]


(j) [Redesignate as (h)]


(k) [Redesignate as (i)] Objectionable nighttime interference from a broadcast station occurs
when, at a specified field strength contour with respect to the desired station, the field strength of
an undesired co-channel station exceeds for 10% or more of the time the values set forth in these
standards. The value derived from the root-sum-square of all interference contributions represents
the extent of a station’s interference-free coverage.
(1) With respect to the root-sum-square (RSS) values of interfering field strengths referred to in
this section, calculation of nighttime interference-free service is accomplished by considering co-
channel signals in order of decreasing magnitude, adding the squares of the values and extracting
the square root of the sum, excluding those signals which are less than 50% of the RSS values of
the higher signals already included. This is known as the “50% Exclusion Method.”
(2) [Remove]
(3) [Remove]
(4) [Redesignate as (2)]


(5) [Redesignate as (3)] It is recognized that application of the 50% Exclusion Method for
calculating the RSS interference may result in some cases in anomalies wherein the addition of a
new interfering signal or the increase in value of an existing interfering signal will cause the
exclusion of a previously included signal and may cause a decrease in the calculated RSS value of
interference. * * *
(6) [Redesignate as (4)] In cases where it is proposed to add a new interfering signal which is not
less than 50% of the RSS value of interference from existing stations or which is greater than the
smallest signal already included to obtain this RSS value, the RSS limitation after addition of the
new signal shall be calculated without excluding any signal previously included. * * *
(7) [Redesignate as (5)] If the new or increased signal proposed in such cases is ultimately
authorized, the RSS values of interference to other stations affected will thereafter be calculated
by the 50% Exclusion Method without regard to this alternate method of calculation.
(8) [Redesignate as (6)]


Note: [Remove]
(l) [Redesignate as (j)] Objectionable nighttime interference from a station shall be considered to
exist to a station when, at the field strength contour specified in paragraph (o) of this section with
respect to the class to which the station belongs, the field strength of an interfering station
operating on the same channel exceeds for 10% or more of the time the value of the permissible
interfering signal set forth opposite such class in paragraph (o) of this section.
(m) [Redesignate as (k)]


Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
49
(n) [Redesignate as (l)]


(o) [Redesignate as (m)] Computation of skywave field strength values:—(1) Fifty percent
skywave field strength values. To compute fifty percent skywave field strength values, Formula 1
of § 73.190, entitled “Skywave field strength, 50% of the time (at SS+6)” shall be used.


(p) [Redesignate as (n)]


(q) [Redesignate as (o)] * * *
Class of station
Class of channel
used
Signal strength contour of area
protected from objectionable
interference (µV/m)
Permissible interfering
signal (µV/m)
Day
1
Night
1
Day
1
Night
A
B
C
D
Clear
Clear
Regional
Local
Clear
Regional
SC 100
AC 500
2000
2000
2000
SC 100
AC 500
2000
Not presc.
3
Not presc.
SC 5
AC 500
SC 100
AC 2000
SC 2000
SC 100
AC 2000
SC 5
1
AC 500
1
25
2
Not presc.
Not presc.
Not presc.
Not presc.


(r) [Redesignate as (p)] * * *
Frequency separation of
desired to undesired signals
(kHz)
Desired Groundwave to:
Undesired
groundwave (dB)
Undesired 10%
Skywave (dB)
0 26 26
10 0 0


(s) [Redesignate as (q)]


(t) [Redesignate as (r)]


Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
50
9. Remove Section 73.187.
§ 73.187 Limitation on daytime radiation. [Removed]
Part 74 of Chapter 1 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations is proposed to be amended as
follows:
1. The authority citation for part 74 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 302a, 303, 307, 309, 336 and 554.
2. Revise paragraph (g) of Section 74.1201 to read as follows:
§ 74.1201 Definitions.


(g) * * * The coverage contour of an FM translator rebroadcasting an AM radio broadcast station
as its primary station must be contained within the greater of either the 2 mV/m daytime contour
of the AM station or a 25-mile (40 km) radius centered at the AM transmitter site, but the
translator’s 1 mV/m coverage contour may not extend beyond a 40-mile (64 km) radius centered
at the AM transmitter site. The protected contour for an FM translator station is its predicted 1
mV/m contour.


Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
51
APPENDIX C
Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
1. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (“RFA”)
1
an Initial
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (“IRFA”) was incorporated in the Notice of Proposed Rule Making
(“NPRM”) to this proceeding.
2
The Commission sought written public comment on the proposals in the
NPRM, including comment on the IRFA. The Commission received no comments on the IRFA. This
Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (“FRFA”) conforms to the RFA.
3
A. Need For, and Objectives of, the First Report and Order
2. This First Report and Order (“First R&O”) adopts changes to certain technical rules and
processes relating to the AM broadcast radio service. In the First R&O, the Commission modifies
daytime and nighttime community coverage requirements for certain AM stations; eliminates the so-
called AM Ratchet Rule; adopts a new form notification procedure for stations implementing Modulation
Dependent Carrier Level Control Technologies; and modifies the rules relating to AM antenna system
efficiency.
3. In the First R&O, the Commission addressed issues raised in the NPRM. The
Commission, in the NPRM, explained that it had not done a comprehensive review of the AM service in
almost 25 years. Moreover, in the years since the last comprehensive review of the AM service,
listenership had declined due to several factors, including: the introduction of new media with higher
audio fidelity, such as CDs, digital media players, and FM digital radio; increased interference among
AM stations; and increased interference from non-broadcast sources, such as computers, LED light bulbs,
power supplies, and utility lines. Based in part on separate pleadings and petitions for rule making filed
by stakeholders, the Commission in the NPRM outlined six proposals designed to offer assistance to AM
broadcasters in light of the various difficulties surrounding the AM service.
4. After considering the comments filed in response to the NPRM, the Commission
determined that there were issues that did not support the immediate opening of a filing window limited
to AM licensees and permittees wishing to obtain FM translator stations, including the time it would take
to open such a window, and the wide availability of FM translator stations including the number expected
to be authorized in the near future. It concluded that the correct approach, to offer near-term relief to AM
broadcasters, was to open two windows allowing the modification and/or relocation of FM translators to
rebroadcast AM stations. These windows would be preceded by a three-month period of outreach by the
Media Bureau to AM stations with limited power and/or no protected nighttime service (Class C and D
stations). Following this period of outreach, the Media Bureau will open a six-month window in which
an AM station seeking to rebroadcast on an FM translator may, on a first-come, first-served basis, apply
to acquire and relocate one and only one authorized non-reserved band FM translator station up to 250
miles, and specify any rule-compliant non-reserved band FM channel, as a minor modification application
notwithstanding Section 74.1233(a)(1) of the Rules, which defines major and minor modifications of FM
translators.
4
This first modification window will be available only to applications to modify and/or
relocate an FM translator station rebroadcasting a Class C or D AM station, on a one translator per AM
station basis. The first modification window will be followed by a second, three-month modification
window, open for applications to modify and/or relocate an FM translator rebroadcasting any AM station

1
See 5 U.S.C. § 603. The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. §§ 601-612, has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (“SBREFA”), Pub. L. No. 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 847 (1996). The SBREFA
was enacted as Title II of the Contract With America Advancement Act of 1996 (“CWAAA”).
2
24 FCC Rcd 5239 (2009).
3
See 5 U.S.C. § 604.
4
47 C.F.R. § 74.1233(a)(1).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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of any class, including a Class C or D station that did not participate (i.e., file an application) in the initial
modification window, also on a one translator per AM station basis. FM translator stations modified
and/or relocated during these modification windows will be subject to the same four-year operating
condition currently attached to FM translators relocated using Mattoon waivers.
5. To further promote the long-term viability of the AM service, the Commission also
directed the Media Bureau and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (“Bureaus”) to open, in 2017 after
completion of the Incentive Auction, Auction 1000, two auction windows for new FM translator stations
to rebroadcast AM stations, open to AM licensees and permittees that did not file applications in either of
the modification windows. As with the modification windows, the first new FM translator auction
window will be limited to applications filed by licensees or permittees of Class C and D AM stations, on
a one translator per station basis, that did not file applications in the modification windows. After close of
the first new FM translator auction window, and after applicants in that window have had the opportunity
to resolve mutual exclusivity through settlement or technical resolution, the Bureaus will open a second
new FM translator auction window, which will be open to all AM licensees and permittees, of any class,
that did not participate in either of the modification windows or the first auction window. The new FM
translator auction windows will otherwise follow the proposal in the NPRM: participation will be limited
to AM licensees and permittees, each applicant may apply for one and only one translator station that
must comply with our siting rules for FM fill-in translators rebroadcasting AM stations, and any translator
acquired through the FM translator auction windows will be permanently linked to the AM primary
station acquiring it. Both new FM translator auction windows will include opportunities for mutually
exclusive applicants to resolve their mutual exclusivity through settlements or technical resolutions.
6. In the NPRM, the Commission also proposed to change the daytime and nighttime
community coverage requirements for AM stations. It noted that the Multicultural Media, Telecom, and
Internet Council (“MMTC”)
5
had filed a 2009 petition for rule making, which it styled a “Radio Rescue
Petition,” in which among other things it sought some flexibility in transmitter siting for AM stations.
MMTC’s reasoning was that some existing stations were unable to comply with the requirements that an
AM station place a 5 mV/m daytime signal over at least 80 percent of its community of license, and that
at least 80 percent of the community of license be encompassed by either a 5 mV/m nighttime signal or a
nighttime interference-free (“NIF”) signal (except in the case of Class D stations, which have no protected
nighttime service). MMTC argued that, as communities grow and boundaries expand farther from an AM
transmitter site, it becomes impossible for the station to comply with the community coverage rules, and
further argued that scarcity of land suitable for AM transmission systems makes it difficult or impossible
for such stations to find rule-compliant transmitter sites. MMTC thus suggested, and the Commission
proposed, that the rule be changed to allow an existing AM station to cover only 50 percent of either the
population or the area of its community of license with a 5 mV/m signal during the day, and to eliminate
the community of license coverage requirement at night. Additionally, the Commission proposed to
allow a new AM station or one changing its community of license to encompass only 50 percent of either
the population or area of the community of license within its nighttime 5 mV/m contour or its NIF
contour, whichever value is higher. Based on substantially favorable commenter support, the
Commission adopted these proposals, adding the proviso that any request to utilize the new community
coverage standards within the first four years of on-air operations, exclusive of any periods of reduced
operation or silence, would be met with increased scrutiny and granted only upon a compelling showing.
7. The Commission also proposed, in the NPRM, to eliminate the so-called “ratchet rule.”
This rule required a Class A or B AM station proposing signal modifications to demonstrate an overall
reduction in the amount of skywave interference it caused to other AM stations; in other words, the
modifying station was required to “ratchet back” radiation in the direction of certain other AM stations.
Two engineering firms filed a 2009 petition for rule making to eliminate the ratchet rule, claiming that the
rule’s practical effect was not, as intended, to reduce nighttime skywave interference, but rather to

5
Formerly the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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discourage station improvements and NIF service by the modifying station. The Commission adopted
this proposal after near-universal approval by commenters. Likewise, there was little opposition in the
comments to the NPRM proposal to allow AM stations to initiate Modulation Dependent Carrier Level
(“MDCL”) control technologies by simply notifying the Commission, rather than seeking authorization to
do so, as had been the procedure. MDCL control technologies vary a station’s radiated power with carrier
modulation, enabling power savings. The Commission adopted this proposal.
8. The last of the proposals set forth in the NPRM was to modify the AM antenna efficiency
standards set forth in the Commission’s Rules. MMTC had, in its 2009 Radio Rescue Petition, argued
that the Commission’s long-standing rules mandating minimum lengths for AM radiators and ground
systems, to assure efficient transmission, were outdated and limited AM stations’ flexibility in choosing
transmission system sites in an era of diminished property availability for such sites. MMTC suggested
replacing the minimum efficiency standards with a “minimum radiation” standard, its contention being
that a station should be allowed to choose to operate a less efficient, less space-intensive transmission
system, making up for the lack of system efficiency by using more input power to the system to yield the
same amount of radiated power. The Commission questioned some of the assumptions underlying
MMTC’s proposal, but agreed that some reduction in the antenna efficiency standards might provide
some relief to AM broadcasters. Accordingly, the Commission proposed a 25 percent reduction in the
antenna efficiency standards, and requested comment on the technical underpinnings to any further
reduction in, or elimination of, those standards.
B. Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response to the IRFA
9. There were no comments filed that specifically addressed the rules and policies proposed
in the IRFA.
C. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Proposed
Rules Will Apply
10. The RFA directs the Commission to provide a description of and, where feasible, an
estimate of the number of small entities that will be affected by the rules adopted herein.
6
The RFA
generally defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” small
organization,” and “small government jurisdiction.”
7
In addition, the term “small business” has the same
meaning as the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act.
8
A small business concern
is one which: (1) is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and
(3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
9
11. The subject rules and policies potentially will apply to all AM radio broadcasting
licensees and potential licensees. A radio broadcasting station is an establishment primarily engaged in
broadcasting aural programs by radio to the public.
10
Included in this industry are commercial, religious,
educational, and other radio stations.
11
Radio broadcasting stations which primarily are engaged in radio

6
5 U.S.C. § 603(b)(3).
7
Id. § 601(6).
8
Id. § 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition of “small business concern” in 15 U.S.C. § 632). Pursuant
to 5 U.S.C. § 601(3), the statutory definition of a small business applies “unless an agency, after consultation with
the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and after opportunity for public comment, establishes
one or more definitions of such term which are appropriate to the activities of the agency and publishes such
definition(s) in the Federal Register.” 5 U.S.C. § 601(3).
9
15 U.S.C. § 632.
10
Id.
11
Id.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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broadcasting and which produce radio program materials are similarly included.
12
However, radio
stations that are separate establishments and are primarily engaged in producing radio program material
are classified under another NAICS number.
13
The SBA has established a small business size standard
for this category, which is: firms having $38.5 million or less in annual receipts.
14
According to the
BIA/Kelsey, MEDIA Access Pro Database on October 15, 2015, 4,691 (99.94%) of 4,694 AM radio
stations have revenue of $38.5 million or less. Therefore, the majority of such entities are small entities.
We note, however, that, in assessing whether a business concern qualifies as small under the above
definition, business (control) affiliations
15
must be included. Our estimate, therefore, likely overstates the
number of small entities that might be affected by our action, because the revenue figure on which it is
based does not include or aggregate revenues from affiliated companies.
12. The proposed policies could affect licensees of FM translator stations, as well as potential
licensees in this radio service. The same SBA definition that applies to radio broadcast licensees would
apply to these stations. The SBA defines a radio broadcast station as a small business if such station has
no more than $38.5 million in annual receipts.
16
Currently, there are approximately 6,422 licensed FM
translator and booster stations.
17
In addition, there are approximately 225 applicants with pending
applications filed in the 2003 translator filing window. Given the nature of these services, we will
presume that all of these licensees and applicants qualify as small entities under the SBA definition.
D. Description of Projected Reporting, Record Keeping and Other Compliance
Requirements
13. As described, certain rules and procedures will change, although the changes will not
result in substantial increases in burdens on applicants. The Commission has added a new form, FCC
Form 338, which an AM station may use to notify the Commission that it is initiating operation using
MDCL control technologies. Use of FCC Form 338, however, replaces the current procedure whereby an
AM station makes a request to use MDCL control technologies. Use of the form is not only less
burdensome than the previous request process, but enables the applicant to initiate MDCL operation
immediately, rather than waiting for Commission approval. The remaining rule changes adopted in the
First R&O are substantive and do not involve application changes, reporting requirements, or record
keeping requirements beyond what is already required. For example, currently applicants for AM
construction permits or modifications are required only to certify that they comply with the community
coverage requirements of Section 73.24(i) of the Rules.
18
Such applicants will continue to do so, but
under a less stringent rule standard in some cases.
E. Steps Taken to Minimize Significant Impact on Small Entities, and Significant
Alternatives Considered
14. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered
in reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): (1)
the establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account

12
Id.
13
Id.
14
13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 515112 (updated for inflation in 2008).
15
“[Business concerns] are affiliates of each other when one concern controls or has the power to control the other
or a third party or parties controls or has to power to control both.” 13 C.F.R. § 121.103(a)(1).
16
Id.
17
See Broadcast Station Totals as of September 30, 2015, News Release (rel. Oct. 9, 2015)
(http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2015/db1009/DOC-335798A1.pdf).
18
47 C.F.R. § 73.24(i). See FCC Form 301, Section III, Certification 8.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of
compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather
than design, standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small
entities.
19
15. With regard to the proposals in the NPRM, the Commission received many comments
proposing different plans for an FM translator window limited to applicants that hold AM station
authorizations. Most of these comments centered around whether the window could be limited to certain
AM broadcasters, and to whom it should be limited. Ultimately, while recognizing that an exclusive
window limited to some or all AM station licensees and permittees would assist those entities, the
Commission concluded that immediately opening such a window would be impractical, and could disrupt
the robust secondary market in FM translators. It decided instead to implement, first, a period of outreach
to Class C and D AM station licensees and permittees, which have lower power and/or no protected
nighttime service, to assist them in locating existing translators that could meet their needs. Immediately
following a three-month outreach period, the Commission will open two windows in which applicants
may propose to relocate an existing FM translator up to 250 miles, and/or modify a translator to specify
any rule-compliant non-reserved FM channel. This procedure is expected to lower prices for FM fill-in
translators for AM stations by opening up the available market, thus benefiting AM station owners, and
would also benefit small businesses owning FM translator stations. The first, six-month modification
window would be open only to applicants proposing to modify FM translators rebroadcasting Class C and
D AM stations, followed by a second, three-month window open to applicants to modify translators to
rebroadcast any class of AM station, including for Class C and D stations for which there were no
applications in the first window. All modification applications filed in the windows will be on a one
translator-per-AM station basis, and any translator stations modified pursuant to modification window
applications will be subject to the same four-year operating condition currently attached to translators
modified pursuant to Mattoon waivers. The modification windows will provide short-term relief to AM
broadcasters. They will be followed, upon completion of the Commission’s Incentive Auction
proceeding, by two auction windows for AM licensees and permittees seeking to obtain new FM
translator stations. The two new FM translator auction windows will follow a similar pattern to the
modification windows: the first will be open only to Class C and D AM licensees and permittees whose
stations were not participants in either modification window, while the second will be open to all AM
licensees and permittees whose stations were not participants in either modification window or the first
auction window. The new FM translator auction windows will otherwise be subject to the same
conditions set forth in the NPRM, including the limitation of one and only one application per applicant,
for an FM translator station that must comply with our siting rules for FM fill-in translators
rebroadcasting AM stations, which will be permanently linked to the AM primary station acquiring it.
Both new FM translator auction windows will include opportunities for mutually exclusive applicants to
resolve their mutual exclusivity through settlements or technical resolutions. In adopting this process of
modification windows followed by new translator auction windows, the Commission intends to provide
immediate relief through a modified secondary translator market for AM broadcasters that are small
businesses, while providing some of those businesses an opportunity to acquire a new fill-in FM
translator at a later time, if that better comports with their situation.
16. With regard to the other, more technical proposals in the NPRM, the Commission’s
proposals were in most cases supported by a majority of commenters, giving little reason to consider
alternatives. The proposals to reduce community coverage requirements for existing AM broadcasters
were grounded in the idea that such broadcasters, small businesses that in some cases had occupied their
transmitter sites for decades, could not easily change transmitter sites because their communities of
license had grown, and land had become increasingly expensive, thus making it difficult or impossible to
locate new, rule-compliant sites. Relaxing the community coverage standards for existing AM stations

19
5 U.S.C. § 603(c)(1)-(c)(4)
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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reduces burdens on such businesses by relieving them of the obligation to locate other, more expensive
transmitter sites or upgrading their equipment to meet those standards. Some commenters suggested that
the Commission abandon community coverage rules altogether, or re-define community to mean
something other than geographic boundaries. While such re-definitions would provide further relief to
AM broadcasters, the Commission rejected them in part because Section 307(b) of the Communications
Act requires that radio stations be assigned fairly and equitably among the several States and
communities, and that any re-definition of “community” would run counter to Congressional intent in
enacting the Communications Act. The principle of broadcast localism, which derives from Section
307(b), requires that there be certain minimum service requirements. Additionally, it is not necessarily a
burden on radio stations to require that they cover as much population as possible, because increased
listenership typically translates into increased advertising revenue. Thus, while the Commission
considered these alternatives, it concluded that the proposals as adopted provided the most relief to AM
broadcasters while still adhering to the requirements of the Communications Act.
17. As for the proposed repeal of the ratchet rule, the vast majority of commenters favored
that repeal because of the burdens the rule placed on broadcasters seeking to improve their facilities and,
thus, their signal coverage. There were no significant alternatives to consider other than leaving the rule
in effect, which was only favored by a few commenters. Those favoring retention of the rule did so in
order to retain the interference reduction benefits for which it was designed. The Commission, however,
agreed with those commenters, including many broadcasters, who argued that the benefits of increased
flexibility in facility improvement outweighed the minimal interference reduction resulting from the
ratchet rule’s application.
18. The Commission’s proposal regarding notification procedures for MDCL control
technology use by AM broadcasters did not involve a substantive change in the rules, merely a procedural
change whereby AM broadcasters wishing to use such technologies would no longer have to seek leave to
do so, but would notify the Commission of the fact. Those commenters opposed to the proposal did not
oppose it as much as question the benefits of MDCL control technologies, observing that they are only
available to stations with newer transmitters, that in some cases the power savings are minimal, and that
the fluctuations in signal power could result in decreased listenability. These objections, however, do not
go to the Commission’s proposal, which merely makes it easier for those AM stations opting to use
MDCL control technologies to do so. Although the proposal does introduce a new notification form, this
form replaces the former system of requesting leave to use MDCL control technologies, and should result
in an overall decrease in the burden on AM stations electing to use the technologies. The Commission
thus decided that adoption of the proposal should be favored over retention of the prior procedure.
19. The Commission also received many comments on its proposal to relax, but not
eliminate, AM antenna system efficiency rules. The Commission proposed a 25 percent reduction in the
minimum standards for radiators and ground systems. The most significant alternative to this proposal,
put forward by many commenters, was to eliminate the efficiency standards for AM transmission systems
altogether, leaving it to the individual broadcaster to decide how much power to feed into the system in
order to achieve the level of signal radiation needed to provide rule-compliant coverage. Such a proposal,
while power-intensive, would allow AM broadcasters to install less-efficient transmission systems in
smaller plots of land, using radiators (towers) short enough to avoid zoning or FAA strictures. In
considering this alternative, however, the Commission was also informed by those commenters pointing
out that inefficient AM transmission systems, with short towers and/or ground systems, tend to be
unstable, and might also result in greater levels of high-angle skywave interference to other stations. The
Commission seeks to reduce burdens on AM broadcasters, but must also protect the integrity of the
service, including minimizing inter-station interference. After considering the alternatives, the
Commission concluded that adopting its proposed 25 percent reduction of AM antenna system efficiency
standards represented the best accommodation between those considerations. It also decided, however,
that more real-world data on inefficient AM transmission systems was called for, and therefore indicated
that it would be willing to allow the installation of alternative or inefficient systems on an experimental
basis, upon a showing that such systems are stable and will not cause excessive interference to other AM
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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stations, and subject to the monitoring and reporting requirements in Part 5 of the Commission’s Rules.
Data gleaned from such experimental operations, it is hoped, will allow the Commission to consider, in
the future, whether the AM antenna system efficiency rules could be relaxed further or eliminated.
F. Report to Congress
20. The Commission will send a copy of the First R&O, including this FRFA, in a report to
be sent to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Small Business Regulatory
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.
20
In addition, the Commission will send a copy of the First R&O,
including the FRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. A copy of
the First R&O and FRFA (or summaries thereof) will also be published in the Federal Register.
21

20
See id. § 801(a)(1)(A).
21
See id. § 604(b).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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APPENDIX D
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
1. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (“RFA”)
1
the
Commission has prepared this Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (“IRFA”) of the possible significant
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities by the policies proposed in the Further Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking (“FNPRM”). Written public comments are requested on this IRFA. Comments
must be identified as responses to the IRFA and must be filed by the deadlines for comments on the
FNPRM provided in paragraph 75. The Commission will send a copy of this entire FNPRM, including
this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (“SBA”).
2
In
addition, the FNPRM and the IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published in the Federal Register.
3
A. Need For, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules
2. This rulemaking proceeding is initiated to obtain further comments concerning certain
proposals designed to revitalize the AM broadcast radio service. It is based in substantial part on
proposals raised by commenters in this rulemaking proceeding, in response to the Commission’s call in
the original NPRM in this proceeding for further ideas and proposals.
3. Specifically, the Commission seeks comment on the following: (1) whether to change
the nighttime and critical hours signal protection to Class A AM stations; (2) whether to change the
methodology for calculating nighttime root sum square (“RSS”) values; (3) whether to change daytime
signal protection to Class B, C, and D stations; (4) whether to revise the rule on where an FM cross-
service translator station, re-broadcasting an AM station’s signal, may be located relative to the AM
station’s transmitter; (5) whether to modify the rules governing partial proofs of performance of
directional AM antenna arrays; (6) whether to modify the rules for method of moments proofs for
directional AM antenna arrays; and (7) whether to require licensees holding dual standard band-Expanded
Band AM licenses to surrender one of the licenses within one year of release of the Second Report and
Order in this proceeding.
B. Legal Basis
4. The authority for this proposed rulemaking is contained in Sections 1, 2, 4(i), 303, 307,
and 309(j) of the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C §§ 151, 152, 154(i), 303, 307, and 309(j).
C. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Proposed
Rules Will Apply
5. The RFA directs the Commission to provide a description of and, where feasible, an
estimate of the number of small entities that will be affected by the proposed rules.
4
The RFA generally
defines the term “small entity” as encompassing the terms “small business,” “small organization,” and
“small governmental entity.
“5
In addition, the term “small business” has the same meaning as the term
“small business concern” under the Small Business Act.
6
A small business concern is one which: (1) is

1
See 5 U.S.C. § 603. The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. §§ 601-612, has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), Pub. L. No. 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 857 (1996).
2
See 5 U.S.C. § 603(a).
3
See id. § 603(a).
4
Id. § 603(b)(3).
5
Id. § 601(6).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any
additional criteria established by the Small Business Administration (“SBA”).
7
D. Radio Stations
6. The proposed rules and policies could apply to AM radio broadcast licensees, and
potential licensees of the AM radio service. A radio broadcasting station is an establishment primarily
engaged in broadcasting aural programs by radio to the public.
8
Included in this industry are commercial,
religious, educational, and other radio stations.
9
Radio broadcasting stations which primarily are engaged
in radio broadcasting and which produce radio program materials are similarly included.
10
However,
radio stations that are separate establishments and are primarily engaged in producing radio program
material are classified under another NAICS number.
11
The SBA has established a small business size
standard for this category, which is: firms having $38.5 million or less in annual receipts.
12
According to
the BIA/Kelsey, MEDIA Access Pro Database on October 15, 2015, 4,691 (99.94%) of 4,694 AM radio
stations have revenues of $38.5 million or less. Therefore, the majority of such entities are small entities.
We note, however, that, in assessing whether a business concern qualifies as small under the above
definition, business (control) affiliations
13
must be included. Our estimate, therefore, likely overstates the
number of small entities that might be affected by our action, because the revenue figure on which it is
based does not include or aggregate revenues from affiliated companies.
7. In addition, an element of the definition of “small business” is that the entity not be
dominant in its field of operation. We are unable at this time to define or quantify the criteria that would
establish whether a specific radio station is dominant in its field of operation. Accordingly, the estimate
of small businesses to which rules may apply do not exclude any radio station from the definition of a
small business on this basis and therefore may be over-inclusive to that extent. Also as noted, an
additional element of the definition of “small business” is that the entity must be independently owned
and operated. We note that it is difficult at times to assess these criteria in the context of media entities
and our estimates of small businesses to which they apply may be over-inclusive to this extent.
E. FM translator stations and low power FM stations
8. The proposed policies could affect licensees of FM translator stations, as well as potential
licensees in this radio service. The same SBA definition that applies to radio broadcast licensees would
apply to these stations. The SBA defines a radio broadcast station as a small business if such station has
no more than $38.5 million in annual receipts.
14
Currently, there are approximately 6,422 licensed FM
(Continued from previous page)
6
Id. § 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition of “small business concern” in the Small Business Act, 15
U.S.C. § 632). Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 601(3), the statutory definition of a small business applies “unless an agency,
after consultation with the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and after opportunity for public
comment, establishes one or more definitions of such term which are appropriate to the activities of the agency and
publishes such definition(s) in the Federal Register.”
7
15 U.S.C. § 632.
8
Id.
9
Id.
10
Id.
11
Id.
12
13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 515112 (updated for inflation in 2008).
13
“[Business concerns] are affiliates of each other when one concern controls or has the power to control the other
or a third party or parties controls or has to power to control both.” 13 C.F.R. § 121.103(a)(1).
14
See 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS Code 515112.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
60
translator and booster stations.
15
In addition, there are approximately 225 applicants with pending
applications filed in the 2003 translator filing window. Given the nature of these services, we will
presume that all of these licensees and applicants qualify as small entities under the SBA definition.
F. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping and Other Compliance
Requirements
9. The proposed rule and procedural changes may, in some cases, impose different
reporting, recordkeeping, or other requirements on existing and potential AM radio licensees and
permittees. In the case of proposed changes to the technical rules regarding calculation of daytime and
nighttime interfering contours, and changes to daytime, nighttime, and critical hours protection to some
stations, there would be changes in the calculation of inter-station interference and reporting of same.
However, the information to be filed is already familiar to broadcasters, and the nature of the interference
calculations would not change, only the values that are acceptable, so any additional burdens would be
minimal. Likewise, the proposed revision to the rules on where an FM translator providing fill-in service
for an AM station may be sited will not require any additional calculations on the part of the AM station
proposing to locate or relocate the translator. The proposal merely relaxes the siting requirement and
expands the area in which such a cross-service fill-in translator may be located. Thus, there should be no
additional reporting or recordkeeping burdens, and compliance with the siting rules will be easier. The
proposed modifications to the partial proof of performance and Method of Moments rules would not
change any reporting or compliance requirements, insofar as AM licensees and applicants would not be
required to submit such proofs or models more frequently than is now the case. The only changes would
be to relax the requirements for making proofs of performance or method of moments models. Thus, the
required submissions of such proofs and models would be less burdensome on AM broadcasters with
directional antenna arrays required to submit such information. Finally, the proposal to require surrender
of licenses held by broadcasters with paired standard band-Expanded Band AM stations will not change
any reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements, and will in fact reduce such requirements
for such licensees by 50 percent.
G. Steps Taken to Minimize Significant Impact on Small Entities, and Significant
Alternatives Considered
10. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered
in reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): (1)
the establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account
the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of
compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather
than design, standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small
entities.
16
In the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission seeks to assist AM
broadcasters by changing certain daytime, nighttime, and critical hours interference protection standards
as they apply to certain classes of AM stations; proposes relaxing the rules on siting of FM translators
providing fill-in service for AM broadcast stations; proposes to modify the measurement requirements for
AM directional antenna system partial proofs of performance in order to make them less burdensome; and
proposes to modify the rules for submitting method of moments models of proposed AM directional
antenna systems, in order to make those rules less burdensome. The Commission also seeks either to
reduce interference in the standard AM band or, alternatively, to create more spectrum in the Expanded
AM Band, by requiring that the 25 remaining licensees holding paired authorizations in both bands
surrender one of the paired licenses. Under the Commission’s proposal, such a licensee would be given
one year from adoption of this proposal in which to elect which authorization it would surrender. The

15
See Broadcast Station Totals as of September 30, 2015, News Release (rel. Oct. 9, 2015)
(http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2015/db1009/DOC-335798A1.pdf).
16
5 U.S.C. § 603(b).
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
61
Commission seeks comment as to whether its goal of revitalizing the AM service could be effectively
accomplished through these means. The Commission is open to consideration of alternatives to the
proposals under consideration, as set forth herein, including but not limited to alternatives that will
minimize the burden on AM broadcasters, most of which are small businesses. There may be unique
circumstances these entities may face, and we will consider appropriate action for small broadcasters
when preparing a Second Report and Order in this matter.
H. Federal Rules Which Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With, the Commission’s
Proposals
11. None.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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APPENDIX E
List of Commenters and Reply Commenters
Commenters
Alan Hughes
AM Station Owners (Joint Comments)
Anthony V. Bono, Friendship Broadcasting LLC
Arthur Niederfringer
Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers
BDJ Radio Enterprises, LLC
Berkshire Broadcasting Corporation
Blount Masscom, Inc., K.W. Dolmar Broadcasting Co., Inc., Blount Communications of NH, Inc., and
Blount Communications, Inc.
Bob Mark Allen Productions, Inc.
Brian J. Henry
Broadcast Maximization Committee
Broadcast Warning Working Group
Bryan Broadcasting
Burt Weiner
Butte Broadcasting
Calvin Johnson
Carl Como Tutera
Carl T. Jones Corporation
Carthage Broadcasting
Cavell, Mertz and Associates
Charles M. Anderson
Christopher Gay
City of Durand, Wisconsin
City of Mondovi, Wisconsin
Clear Channel Communications Inc. (now iHeart Media + Entertainment, Inc.)
Cohen, Dippel and Everist, P.C.
Common Frequency
Communications Technologies, Inc.
Crawford Broadcasting Company
Cris Allen
Cub Radio
Curtis W. Flick
Curtis Media Group
DAIJ Media
Dale Adkins
Dan Priestly
Dana Puopolo
Danny Ray Boyer
Dave Dunsmoor
David Caroccio
David Dybas
David L. Hershberger
David L. Poole
Dennis Cote
Doug Wilber
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du Treil, Lundin & Rackley, Inc.
Ed Lachman
Edward C. DeHart
Edward Henson
Edward P. DeLaHunt – Bemidji Radio, Inc.
El Sol Broadcasting
Foothills Broadcasting
Frederick R. Vobbe
George Arroyo
George Molnar
Grant County Broadcasters
Hatfield & Dawson Consulting Engineers LLC
Henry B. Ruhwiedel
Ibiquity Digital Corporation
James Anderson Merrit
James B. Potter
Joseph E. Talbot
John Giannettino
John S. Gilstrap
John Pavlica, Jr.
John Wishon
Jonathan E. Hardis
Josh Blake Johnson
Joshua Lehan
Just Because, Inc.
Kevin Kidd
Khanna & Guill, Inc.
KNAB Inc.
Kulp-Wharton County Radio, Inc.
Kyle Magrill
Larry Croft
Les Rayburn
Lloyd Bankson Roach
Logan Darensburg
Malkan Interactive Communications
Marcus Spectrum Solutions LLC
Mariana Broadcasting, Inc. (two comments)
Mark D. Humphrey
Mark Heller
Mark D. Seehafer
Martha I. Whitman
Matt Krick
Missouri Broadcasters Association
Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (now Multicultural Media, Telecom, and Internet
Council)
Monster Media, LLC
Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters, Inc.
N. Al Sergi (Summit Media)
Named State Broadcasters Association
National Alliance of AM Broadcasters
National Association of Broadcasters
National Public Radio
National Religious Broadcasters
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National Translator Association
New England Public Radio
Nickolaus Leggett (two comments)
North Carolina Central Broadcasters, Inc.
Pepin County Department of Human Services
Peter Blake
Peter E. Schartel
Porter County Broadcasting Holding Corporation
Puerto Rico Broadcasters Association
R. Morgan Burrow Jr.
RAFTT Corporation
Rama Communications, Inc.
RAMS
Randy D. Gehman
REC Networks
Richard F. Arsenault
Robert Atkinson
Robert E. Richer
Robert Greenlee
Robert Meuser
Roger Bouldin / Bristol Broadcasting, Inc. / Bouldin Engineering
Sam Brown
School District of Durand, Wisconsin
Scott Clifton
Scott Fybush
Scott Todd
Sean Scallon
Sellmeyer Engineering
Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc.
Spring Arbor University
S-R Broadcasting
Stephen Masek
Steve O
Steven Chanin
Steven Karty
Steven Zetsche
Thomas Osenkowsky
Todd Roberts
Tuscarawas Broadcasting Company
TZ Sawyer Technical Consultants, LLC
University of Northwestern – St. Paul
Wayne Robey
WGTO
Wilfredo G. Blanco-Pi, P.E.
William Croghan
Word Power, Inc.
Worldwide Antenna
WRDN – 1430 AM
Wright Broadcasting
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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Reply Comments
Alphonso Gimenez-Porrata
Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers
Barry Magrill
Broadcast Maximization Committee
Bob Bittner
Burt Weiner
Butte Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Calvin Johnson
Carly Haynes (Commander Communications Corp.)
Carl T. Jones Corporation
Catholic Radio Association
Charles M. Anderson
Christian Broadcasting System, Ltd.
Chuck Harder
iHeart Media + Entertainment, Inc.
Cohen, Dippell & Everist, P.C.
Dan Priestly
David L. Hersberger
Dennis Rumsey
Digital Radio Mondiale
Don Schellhardt
Doug Wilber
du Treil, Lundin & Rackley, Inc.
Ed Henson
Edward De Hart
Edward Ford
Gregory Borgen
Hatfield & Dawson Consulting Engineers, LLC
Holston Valley Broadcasting Corp.
iBiquity
James Potter
John Nathan Anderson
Jonathan E. Hardis
Kevin Kidd
Kevin M. Fitzgerald
Khanna & Guill
Kintronic Laboratories, Inc.
KVSH Radio
Kyle Magrill
LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition
Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasting
Mullaney Engineering
Nathan Goossen
National Association of Broadcasters
Nickolaus Leggett
National Public Radio
O.P. Holder
Potomac Radio LLC
Richard D. Bogner
Richard Bouchard
Rob McClure
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Roger Bouldin
Salem Communications Corp.
Sellmeyer Engineering
T.Z. Sawyer Technical Consultants, LLC
Timothy Cutforth
Valcom Manufacturing Group, Inc.
Wilfredo G. Blanco-Pi, P.E.
William C. Walker
Word Power, Inc.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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APPENDIX F
AM Stations With Dual Standard Band / Expanded Band Licenses
Call Sign Community Frequency Facility ID
KSMH West Sacramento, CA 1620 kHz 87036
KAHI Auburn, CA 950 kHz 48341
KOZN Bellevue, NE 1620 kHz 87182
KZOT Bellevue, NE 1180 kHz 43237
WTAW College Station, TX 1620 kHz 87145
KZNE College Station, TX 1150 kHz 7632
KYIZ Renton, WA 1620 kHz 86941
KRIZ Renton, WA 1420 kHz 35549
WDND South Bend, IN 1620 kHz 87112
WHLY South Bend, IN 1580 kHz 67133
KKGM Fort Worth, TX 1630 kHz 87147
KHVN Fort Worth, TX 970 kHz 63780
KRND Fox Farm, WY 1630 kHz 87155
KJUA Cheyenne, WY 1380 kHz 54740
KDIA Vallejo, CA 1640 kHz 87108
KDYA Vallejo, CA 1190 kHz 54263
KZLS Enid, OK 1640 kHz 87168
KCRC Enid, OK 1390 kHz 10856
KBJA Sandy, UT 1640 kHz 87119
KTKK Sandy, UT 630 kHz 14890
KBJD Denver, CO 1650 kHz 87151
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KRKS Denver, CO 990 kHz 58632
KCNZ Cedar Falls, IA 1650 kHz 87158
KCFI Cedar Falls, IA 1250 kHz 9726
KSVE El Paso, TX 1650 kHz 87165
KHRO El Paso, TX 1150 kHz 51705
WHKT Portsmouth, VA 1650 kHz 87170
WPMH Portsmouth, VA 1010 kHz 10759
WCNZ Marco Island, FL 1660 kHz 86909
WVOI Marco Island, FL 1480 kHz 13980
KWOD Kansas City, KS 1660 kHz 87143
KYYS Kansas City, KS 1250 kHz 73938
WWRU Jersey City, NJ 1660 kHz 87123
WJDM Elizabeth, NJ 1530 kHz 54563
WOZN Madison, WI 1670 kHz 87154
WLMV Madison, WI 1480 kHz 41901
KGED Fresno, CA 1680 kHz 87176
KXEX Fresno, CA 1550 kHz 54960
WOKB Winter Garden, FL 1680 kHz 87164
WLAA Winter Garden, FL 1600 kHz 55006
WTTM Lindenwold, NJ 1680 kHz 87111
WHWH Princeton, NJ 1350 kHz 47426
KNTS Seattle, WA 1680 kHz 87153
KLFE Seattle, WA 1590 kHz 12031
KFSG Roseville, CA 1690 kHz 87177
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KLIB Roseville, CA 1110 kHz 57702
WEUP Huntsville, AL 1700 kHz 87141
WHIY Huntsville, AL 1600 kHz 28118
WJCC Miami Springs, FL 1700 kHz 87169
WNMA Miami Springs, FL 1210 kHz 61642
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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STATEMENT OF
CHAIRMAN TOM WHEELER
Re: Revitalization of the AM Radio Service,MB Docket No. 13-249
This past April, I expressed my commitment to adopt new rules to help AM radio flourish while
also preserving the values of competition, diversity, and localism. Today, the Commission unanimously
adopted an AM revitalization plan honoring that commitment.
This Order will ease regulatory burdens on AM broadcasters and address practical problems and
interference-related issues that have long plagued AM stations. In particular, it includes multiple actions
to expand access to FM translators, which are used to enhance the quality of AM signals.
First, the new rules allow a one-time waiver for stations to relocate existing FM translators up to
250 miles. Considering FM translators are often in one place when the AM broadcaster wants to use them
in another, this provision will dramatically increase the usability of the 6,800 previously authorized
translators on the market and should result in significantly lower prices. I’m pleased that the rules
prioritize relief for those most in need with a 6-month exclusive modification window for the 4,500
smallest AM stations. This quick, targeted relief will help get translators in the hands of small stations by
early next year.
Today’s package also includes an exclusive opening of the FM translator window for AM
licensees. While I have concerns about favoring one class of licensees with an exclusive spectrum
opportunity, I welcomed the compromise proposal by Commissioner Clyburn for an AM-only auction
window for small Class C and Class D stations after the Incentive Auction, with a second auction window
for all classes to follow. The phased approach providing targeted relief for small stations first will help
revitalize AM radio as a whole while supporting diversity in AM station ownership and content.
Today’s Order would not have been possible without the tremendous leadership of Commissioner
Clyburn. She initiated this proceeding during her time heading this agency, and when disagreements arose
she was able to bridge the gaps and broker solutions. Thanks to Mignon Clyburn, AM radio just got a
significant boost and broadcasters are better positioned to deliver diverse, localized content to the
American people.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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STATEMENT OF
COMMISSIONERMIGNON L. CLYBURN
Re: Revitalization of the AM Radio Service,MB Docket No. 13-249
Earlier this month I released a statement reaffirming my belief in the power, role and economic
potential of the AM radio market. That is why I circulated the proposal to open an AM only window for
FM translators during my tenure as interim Chair. As I noted in my earlier statement, we have seen
positive benefits from the actions we took at that time, including the significant growth in the availability
of FM translators. Despite that progress, many in the AM industry, particularly small Class C and D
station owners, find themselves challenged in successfully finding and affording a translator.
That’s why I am proud to lend my vote to support an Order that acknowledges the realities of the
upcoming incentive auction and the need for immediate relief for AM stations. This Order will allow the
smallest AM stations that face the largest challenges to be the first in line for relief, both for the
modification application window that will take place early next year, and for the auction window that will
happen in 2017. It also provides for outreach and assistance to those that are most resource-challenged.
Giving preference to these Class C and D stations will revitalize AM radio, our broadcast service with the
highest percentage of ownership diversity.
Though much of the back-and-forth on the best way to provide this relief played out in the press,
instead of within the walls of the Commission, I am nevertheless pleased that we have achieved what I
believe is an outstanding result. Today’s order reflects the type of compromise that is necessary to
achieve results in our democratic process.
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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STATEMENT OF
COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI
Re: Revitalization of the AM Radio Service,MB Docket No. 13-249
WRDN. KZPA. KDKA. WAGG. KBRW. KKOW. WDAY. These aren’t random collections
of letters. They and countless other call signs like them represent AM radio stations around this country
that have informed and entertained listeners and created a sense of community—in some cases, for longer
than the FCC itself has been around.
But the AM band is struggling. Signal quality is low. Listenership is down. Advertising revenue
is declining. And for a generation, the FCC has been on the sidelines.
That’s why, three years ago, I proposed that the Commission launch an initiative to revitalize AM
radio. One year later, the FCC began its first comprehensive review of its AM radio rules in over two
decades. And at long last, the Commission today is taking meaningful and concrete action to assist AM
broadcasters across our country. This is a big victory for the American listening public.
In particular, we give AM broadcasters short-term relief in two different ways. First, we reform
many of our technical rules pertaining to the AM band. The details of those changes are difficult for
anyone who isn’t an engineer to understand, but they will make a real difference to AM broadcasters.
Eliminating the so-called “ratchet rule” will make it easier for AM broadcasters to improve their signal
quality. Modifying our daytime and nighttime community coverage standards, along with minimum
efficiency standards, will give AM broadcasters more flexibility when it comes to site location. And the
use of Modulation Dependent Carrier Level control technologies will allow AM broadcasters to cut their
operating costs.
Second, we afford AM broadcasters additional opportunities to acquire FM translators, including
through two exclusive windows for AM stations to obtain new FM translators. Over the last two years,
AM broadcasters from Kansas to Mississippi have told me about the importance of the FM translator
window proposal. Translators have helped them boost listenership and advertising dollars in a major
way. Now, translators are not the answer for the technical problems plaguing the AM band. But those
problems are not going to be solved overnight. An FM translator can serve as a vital bridge to the future
for an AM broadcaster as we work on fixing the AM band’s long-term problems.
The approach to translators adopted by the Commission may not be perfect, but we made
significant progress on the issue over the past few weeks, and it is an approach that I am pleased to
support. First, we will open a window in which AM stations will have greater flexibility to move an FM
translator purchased in the secondary market. I have long favored making it easier for AM stations to
move FM translators, such as by supporting the Tell City waiver request. And then we will give those
AM stations still without an FM translator a chance to apply for a new one. I’m hopeful that this two-
prong plan will accomplish our goal of distributing FM translators to as many AM stations as want them.
Of course, our work on AM revitalization does not end today; we also tee up many ideas that
stakeholders gave us in response to our Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. I look forward to reviewing the
record to be compiled on those ideas and hope that we will move forward swiftly on those that have merit.
I would like to thank the dedicated staff of the Media Bureau’s Audio Division for their hard
work on this document. The Audio Division, ably led by Peter Doyle, often does not get the recognition
that it deserves. But the many millions of Americans who regularly listen to terrestrial radio are the
beneficiaries of their efforts and expertise.
And I would like to thank all of those who have supported this AM revitalization initiative. The
broad support we’ve seen speaks to the enduring importance of AM radio in communities across the
country. From formal comments submitted to the FCC to enthusiastic “attaboys” I’ve heard in the field,
one thing is clear: When it comes to promoting localism, advancing diversity, and otherwise serving the
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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public interest, AM radio matters. I have seen that for myself in communities across the country, from
Fort Yukon, Alaska to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and from Fargo, North Dakota to Birmingham, Alabama.
It’s impossible to mention here all of the advocates who have helped us reach this point, but you should
know that I deeply appreciate all you have done and will never forget it.
Thus we close one chapter in AM revitalization and begin another. As Paul Harvey—his
distinctive voice still resonates in my memory from so many broadcasts I heard during my childhood on
KLKC 1540 AM—might have said, that’s the rest of the story. Good day!
Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-142
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STATEMENT OF
COMMISSIONER MICHAEL P. O’RIELLY
Re: Revitalization of the AM Radio Service,MB Docket No. 13-249
I commend Commissioner Pai for his leadership on the entire issue of AM revitalization. Having
personally discussed the various options with AM radio broadcasters and read their comments, it is clear
how important an FM translator auction window is to the overall effort. I must admit that it was
disconcerting to see the turmoil necessary to get us to the end result, but all’s well that ends well.

At the end of the day, however, Commission rule changes can only be so helpful. The American people
will ultimately decide the fate of AM radio and its place in the American entertainment and information
marketplace.

 

PUBLIC NOTICE
Federal Communications Commission
445 12
th
Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov
TTY 1-888-835-5322
DA 15-1215
Released: October 26, 2015
MEDIA BUREAU INITIATES AM REVITALIZATION OUTREACH EFFORTS;
MODIFICATION WINDOW PROCEDURES AND REQUIREMENTS ANNOUNCED
On Friday, October 23, 2015, the Commission is releasing its initial order in the AM
Revitalization rule making proceeding.
1
The AMR Order adopts a number of rule and policy changes to
strengthen the AM service, thereby advancing the Commission’s fundamental goals of localism,
competition and diversity in broadcast media. A key component of the AMR Order is a series of filing
windows to promote the greater use of FM translators by AM licensees and permittees.
2
This Public
Notice is the first of a number of Media Bureau (“Bureau”) outreach efforts to facilitate Class C and D
AM licensee participation in this window process.
3

Window Schedule. In order to provide immediate relief to AM broadcasters, the Commission
has directed the Bureau to promptly open two FM translator modification application windows under
modified procedures that will vastly increase opportunities for AM stations to relocate FM translator
stations.
4
In accordance with the AMR Order, the initial six-month window will open during the first
quarter of 2016 (“First Modification Window”). The second three-month window will open immediately
after the close of the first window (“Second Modification Window”).
Eligibility. The First Modification Window will be open to only Class C and D AM licensees
seeking to modify and/or relocate FM translator stations. The Second Modification Window will be open
to AM licensees of any class.
5
The following eligibility restrictions will apply to Modification Window
filings:

1
Revitalization of the AM Service, First Report and Order, Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, and Notice of
Inquiry, FCC 15-142, ¶ 13 (rel. October 23, 2015) (“AMR Order”).
2
Unless otherwise specified in this Notice, “licensee” includes both licensees and permittees, “license” includes
both license and construction permit authorizations, and “station” includes both licensed and permitted facilities.
3
Class C AM stations are limited to 1 kilowatt of power, day and night, and Class D AM stations have no protected
nighttime service. These service-limited stations are most likely to benefit from an FM translator.
4
AMR Order at ¶ 13.
5
The Commission has also directed the Media Bureau, in conjunction with the Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau, to open two new FM translator application auction windows, beginning in 2017, for those AM licensees that
do not file an application in one of the modification windows. Id. at ¶ 19.
21. Only one application may be filed by/on behalf of each AM station, i.e., A First and Second
Modification Window application may not specify the same primary Class C or Class D
station.
2. An AM licensee may file in its own name if it is the licensee of the FM translator station or is
the proposed assignee or transferee of the subject FM translator station.
6

  1. A modification application also may be filed by an FM translator licensee that has entered
    into a rebroadcasting agreement with an AM licensee. Each such application must specify an
    eligible primary AM station.
    Application Processing Standards. Applicants must satisfy each of the following requirements.
    Failure to do so will result in application dismissal.
  2. Applications must be electronically filed on FCC Form 349. There is no filing fee for this
    application.
  3. FM translator station relocations of up to 250 miles will be permitted.
  4. The FM translator station must be authorized to operate on a non-reserved band FM channel,
    i.e., 92.1 – 107.9 MHz.
  5. The modification application may specify any rule-compliant non-reserved band FM
    channel.
    7
  6. The proposed facilities must satisfy AM/FM translator “fill-in” service restrictions.
    8
    That is,
    the FM translator station’s proposed 60 dBu contour must be contained within the AM
    station’s 2 mV/m daytime contour and may not extend more than 25 miles from the AM
    transmitter site.
    Construction Requirements. Build-out requirements will depend on whether the modification
    application proposes to modify a licensed and operating FM translator station or a new, unbuilt Auction
    83 construction permit.
  7. Construction permits modifying a licensed and operating FM translator station will specify a
    three-year construction period.
  8. The approximately 1300 outstanding Auction 83 construction permits (“CPs”) may be
    relocated under these window procedures. Many of these CPs have 2016 construction
    deadlines. A filer may seek a waiver of a CP deadline, provided that the waiver request
    includes a commitment to promptly construct the modified FM translator station. Waiver
    requests must include supporting information regarding construction commitments.
    Operational Requirements. An FM translator station modified under these procedures must
    rebroadcast the specified primary AM station for a minimum of four years, exclusive of silent periods,
    commencing with the initiation of service at the new location.
    Application Processing. Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
    That is, earlier filed window applications will have cut-off protection vis a vis any subsequently filed
    window application. Accordingly, a First Modification Window application will have cut-off protection
    with regard to all Second Modification Window filings.

6
See 47 C.F.R. § 73.3517(a).
7
See 47 C.F.R. §§ 74.1201 – 74.1290.
8
See 47 C.F.R. § 74.1201(g).
3Outreach. As directed by the Commission, the Bureau is initiating a three-month outreach effort
to ensure Class C and Class D licensees are well informed on the modification window filing process.
The Bureau will send information during the outreach period to each Class C and Class D licensee with a
valid email address on file in the Consolidated Database System (“CDBS”). We recommend that
licensees confirm and update their contact information, using the following link to access CDBS:
http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts. Licensees with CDBS
account IDs and passwords should log in and click the “Account Maintenance” button. Both “Licensee
Applicant” and “Contact Rep” information should be reviewed and, as necessary, updated. If updates are
necessary, licensees should return to the CDBS Electronic Filing System page. Click on “Additional non-
form Filings” at the bottom of the list of FCC Forms and then click on “Change in Official Mailing
Address for Broadcast Station.” Licensees should follow those instructions for electronically updating
information. This form can be submitted for multiple stations with the same address.
Consult the CDBS user guide if you have any questions about filing:
http://licensing.fcc.gov/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbs_ug.htm.
Additionally, the Bureau also has established a dedicated e-mail address for inquiries from
prospective applicants about the window process, AMmodification@fcc.gov. Finally, the Bureau will
introduce in the near future an AM Revitalization webpage that will include information and tools for
prospective applicants. The Bureau is currently developing tools to assist each prospective applicant in
locating eligible translator stations and, potentially, identifying rule-compliant FM translator channels.
9

Prospective applicants are encouraged to monitor the AM Revitalization webpage for developments.
For additional information, contact:
? Legal inquiries: Parul Desai, (202) 418-2700
? Engineering inquiries: James Bradshaw or Robert Gates, (202) 418-2700
? CDBS Helpdesk: (202) 418-2662
? Press inquiries: Janice Wise, (202) 418-8165
– FCC –

9
The Bureau is exploring whether it would be feasible to develop a FM translator “channel finder tool” similar to
the utility provided to prospective LPFM applicants prior to the 2013 LPFM filing window. Developing such a tool
poses greater technical challenges than did the LPFM tool and must take into account, among other factors, relevant
contours of the proposed FM translator station, all authorized facilities and all pending applications. However, as
was the case with the LPFM channel finder tool, each applicant is strongly encouraged to make its own assessment
regarding potential channel options and, as necessary, to rely on a consulting engineer to confirm the technical
acceptability of its proposal.

 

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