Murfreesboro, TN - Mar 8, 2007 - The FCC has granted another STA to allow an AM station to use an FM stranslator; in this case, it's actually two translators. WGNS-AM owner, Bart Walked, in an article in the The Daily News Journal of Murfreesboro, TN, said that he had been working on obtaining the translator clearance for 15 years. On March 1, WGNS began transmitting from 100.5 FM and 101.9 in addition to its regular frequency of 1450.
The Journal article quotes Walker as saying that one of the main reasons WGNS requested approval to retransmit on two new frequencies was to provide reliable emergency communications to residents in the county that the station serves. It notes that during the 1997 tornados in the area, WGNS was the only form of communication for many residents trapped in their homes.
Walker credits the permission to Deborah Taylor-Tate being appointed to the FCC. Taylor-Tate hails from Murfreesboro.
Radio magazine observation: If Taylor-Tate indeed pushed the STA through for her hometown, it's yet another example of politics and personal interests usurping established FCC rules. While the concept of AM stations using FM translators has merit, it is not in the rules. An STA is a practical way to show proof of concept, but this STA, like the one issued for WRHI in Rock Hill, SC, was issued at the whim of a politician. The reasons cited for their issuance were for coverage of a community, which is already known and understood.
If the FCC wants to allow AM stations to use FM translators, it needs to change the rules and not continue to issue STAs.