Increased FM HD Power Petition for Rulemaking

The FCC Media Bureau seeks comment on the Petition for Rulemaking filed by the National Association of Broadcasters and Xperi, Inc. (collectively Petitioners) on October 26, 2022. The Petitioners request that the Commission adopt an updated formula to determine and increase FM digital sideband power levels for stations transmitting digital FM.

Comment Date: January 12, 2023
Reply Comment Date: February 13, 2023

Effective Date set for FM Directional Antenna Computer Modeling Rules

On May 19, 2022, the Commission released the FM Broadcast Directional Antenna Performance Verification Order, in which the Commission revised its broadcast radio procedures and rules, including sections 73.316 and 73.1690 of the rules, to allow for FM and LPFM directional antenna pattern verification by computer modeling performed by the directional antenna’s manufacturer.

By this Public Notice, the Media Bureau announces that the notice of the effective date for sections 73.316 and 73.1690, as amended in the FM Broadcast Directional Antenna Performance Verification Order, was published in the Federal Register on November 10, 2022, and became effective on that date.

Comparative Consideration Order for 32 NCE MX Groups

The Commission has before it for comparative consideration 32 groups of mutually exclusive (MX) applications for new noncommercial educational (NCE) FM station construction permits. By this Memorandum Opinion and Order (Order), they perform threshold fair distribution of service analyses and use a point system to tentatively select an application for grant in each group. Petitions to deny the application of any of these tentative selectees must be filed within 30 days of the date of release of this Order.

These applications were filed in November 2021, during the most recent filing window for new NCE FM applications. These applicants have had an opportunity to enter into settlement agreements among themselves to resolve mutual exclusivity, and, in the absence of any such settlement, are now subject to a simplified, comparative process codified in Part 73, Subpart K, of the FCC rules.

Proposed Updates to TV & Class A Rules

The broadcast television industry has recently completed two significant transitions – the transition from analog to digital-only operations, and the post-incentive auction transition to a smaller television band with fewer channels. In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the FCC proposes and seeks comment on comprehensively deleting, updating, or otherwise revising Commission rules for full power and Class A stations that no longer have any practical effect given these historic changes. They also propose and seek comment on a restructuring of subpart E of part 73 of the Commission’s rules, which largely consists of the technical licensing, operating, and interference rules for full power television. The proposed restructuring will make the rules more streamlined and easily understandable for our licensees and the public.

Comment and Reply Comment dates will be announced after publication in the Federal Register.

27 NCE FM MX Groups

The Commission has determined 27 groups of mutually exclusive (MX) applications for new noncommercial educational (NCE) FM station construction permits. By this Memorandum Opinion and Order (Order), the Commission performs threshold fair distribution of service analyses and uses a point system to tentatively select an application for grant in each group. Petitions to deny the application of any of these tentative selectees must be filed within 30 days of the date of release of this Order.

Part 74 LPTV rules update

In this Order and Sixth Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Order and NPRM), the FCC seeks to update Part 74 rules for low power television (LPTV) and TV translator services (collectively “LPTV/translator”) to reflect the current operating environment, including the termination of analog operations in the LPTV/translator service as of July 13, 2021. In the Order, they delete or revise Commission rules that no longer have any practical effect given the completion of the LPTV/translator digital transition, or that are otherwise obsolete or irrelevant. They also make certain ministerial changes, for example, to delete analog rules that were found in Part 74, and add definitions and other information previously adopted in rulemaking proceedings but inadvertently omitted through oversight.

In the NPRM, they seek comment on additional amendments, including proposing to adopt rules previously applicable to analog operations for digital operations, updating geographic coordinates to the current North American Datum (NAD) standard, modifying station identification requirements, requiring LPTV stations to transmit with a virtual channel that avoids conflicts with other stations, updating the process for filing applications with the Commission, and making certain technical modifications.

Comment Date: October 24, 2022
Reply Comment Date: November 7, 2022

‘Franken FM’ 5th NPRM

The LPTV digital transition is now complete, with analog television operations terminated and channel 6 LPTV stations operating in digital. However the Commission has granted STAs to 13 channel 6 LPTV stations to continue providing analog “FM6” service. In this proceeding, the FCC seeks comment on whether allowing continued “FM6” analog radio operations by existing digital channel 6 LPTV stations serves the public interest. In addition, the Commission seeks comment on whether to eliminate or revise the television channel 6 (TV6) distance separation rules for low power FM (LPFM), noncommercial educational (NCE) FM, Class D (10 watt) FM, and FM translator stations operating on reserved band FM Channels 201-220. Through this NPRM, the FCC seeks to bring finality to these outstanding questions.

Comment Date: July 18, 2022 (30 days after date of publication in the Federal Register)
Reply Comment Date: August 1, 2022 (45 days after date of publication in the Federal Register)

FCC Adopts Antenna Computer Modeling Rules for FM/LPFM Directional Antennas

The FCC adopted a Report and Order that gives FM and Low Power FM (LPFM) applicants using directional antennas the option of verifying the directional pattern through the use of computer modeling.

Some FM stations use directional antennas in order to prevent interference to other stations or to keep the signal from radiating outside the station’s authorized service area. When seeking a license, FM radio stations using directional antennas are required to provide measurements of the radiated signal to verify their directional pattern. To do this, stations must either build a full-size mockup of the antenna or build a scale model. These measurements can involve considerable expense to the applicant.

Today’s action gives FM and LPFM broadcasters the option to verify directional antenna patterns by using computer modeling prepared by the antenna manufacturer rather than real world measurements, after the model is initially verified for accuracy. The action will provide regulatory relief for both antenna manufacturers and FM broadcasters while maintaining the integrity of the Commission’s licensing requirements.

Update: New rules effective November 10, 2022 upon publication in the Federal Register. See Public Notice here.