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FCC Considering NPRM to Scrutinize Interference Complaints to Full-Power Stations From Translators - Radio Magazine

FCC Considering NPRM to Scrutinize Interference Complaints to Full-Power Stations From Translators

Current policy has prompted battles between translator operators and full-power stations over whether complaints have come from real listeners, as opposed to listeners that are somehow associated with the full-power stations
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WASHINGTON — In his recent speech at NAB Show, FCC Chairman Pai announced that there is a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking being considered by the FCC commissioners regarding the way in which complaints about interference to full-power stations from translators would be handled, according to David Oxenford in a recent broadcastlawblog.com entry.

Now, a single complaint from a regular listener to a full-power FM station, even if that listener is outside of the full-power station’s protected contour, is enough to shut down the new translator if the translator licensee cannot resolve that complaint. This policy has prompted battles between translator operators and full-power stations over whether such complaints have come from real listeners, suffering through real interference, as opposed to listeners that are somehow associated with the full-power stations and prompted to make complaints in order to take advantage of the commission’s policy.

“Last year, the NAB proposed a number of fixes to the policy – suggesting that more than one complaint should be required to prove true interference and that, if interference is found, that the translator be allowed to relocate to any available channel on the FM band to remediate that interference, not just to adjacent channels as a “minor change” as currently required,” writes Oxenford. “It is anticipated that the FCC’s proposed rulemaking will contain some of the NAB’s suggestions.”

Those suggestions include:

  • Translators that receive interference complaints should be allowed to move to any vacant FM channel to operate, not just to channels adjacent to their current operations
  • Interference reports should be supported by at least six instances, with the complaining parties identified to insure that they are unaffiliated with the station allegedly receiving interference
  • The station receiving interference should identify, with specificity, when and where the alleged interference is taking place
  • The NAB also proposes interference should be judged by “on/off” tests of the translator

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