The FCC today expanded the site locations where FM translators can rebroadcast AM radio stations. The amended rule provide s greater flexibility for an AM station to place a rebroadcasting FM translator in a location where it will better serve its AM station’s listeners. AM radio stations that want to improve their service area with a clearer signal can do so by using an FM translator, which receives the AM signal and re -broadcasts it on an FM frequency. This is particularly useful for the many AM stations forced to reduce their power at night, since the FM translator can operate at the same power 24 hours a day. At issue is a current FCC rule that may make finding a location for these translators unnecessarily challenging. Under the old rule, an AM station could place a rebroadcasting FM translator either within its daytime service contour or within a 25 -mile radius of its transmitter, whichever distance was less. The new rule allows the rebroadcasting FM translator to be located anywhere within the AM station’s daytime service contour or anywhere within a 25-mile radius of the transmitter, even if the contour extends farther than 25 miles from the transmitter.
The FCC proposes to authorize television broadcasters to use the “Next Generation” broadcast television (Next Gen TV) transmission standard associated with recent work of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (“ATSC 3.0”) on a voluntary, market -driven basis, while they continue to deliver current -generation digital television (DTV) broadcast service, using the “ATSC 1.0 standard,” to their viewers. ATSC 3.0 is being developed by broadcasters with the intent of merging the capabilities of over-the-air (OTA) broadcasting with the broadband viewing and information delivery methods of the Internet, using the same 6 MHz channels presently allocated for DTV. According to a coalition of broadcast and consumer electronics industry representatives that has petitioned the Commission to authorize the use of ATSC 3.0,this new standard has the potential to greatly improve broadcast signal reception, particularly on mobile devices and television receivers without outdoor antennas, and it will enable broadcasters to offer enhanced and innovative new features to consumers, including Ultra High Definition (UHD) picture and immersive audio, more localized programming content, an advanced emergency alert system (EAS) capable of waking up sleeping devices to warn consumers of imminent emergencies, better accessibility options, and interactive services.With today’s action, the FCC aims to facilitate private sector innovation and promote American leadership in the global broadcast industry.