FCC: We''re Keeping an Eye on Translators

April 23, 2014

Despite recent changes to translator rules to help AM stations in the United States, FMs “generally continue to enjoy significant advantages” over their AM brethren.

So writes the FCC in its recent further notice of proposed rulemaking, part of its Quadrennial Regulatory Review.

It said that the recent changes allowing AMs to use currently authorized FM translators in certain situations “have not yet significantly impacted the technological and marketplace differences between AM and FM stations. While this change has been beneficial for many AM stations, many more AM stations have not availed themselves of the opportunity and/or lack the ability to do so.”

The commission said it plans to continue to monitor the impact of that change in future media ownership proceedings. It also invited industry comments on the approach.

This was one detail among several affecting radio. Most notably, the FCC wrote: “We tentatively find that the current local radio ownership rule remains necessary in the public interest and should be retained without modification.”

Under existing rules, one entity can own (1) up to eight commercial radio stations in markets with 45 or more radio stations, no more than five of which can be in the same service (AM or FM); (2) up to seven commercial stations in markets with 30–44 stations, no more than four in the same service; (3) up to six commercial stations in markets with 15–29 stations, no more than four in the same service; and (4) up to five commercial stations in markets with 14 or fewer stations, no more than three in the same service (provided that an entity may not own more than 50 percent of the stations in such a market, except that it may always own a single AM and single FM station combination).

Read the FCC document.

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