The FCC announced yesterday that it is extending the deadline for comments and reply comments on proposed rule changes to the FCC’s procedures for resolving complaints of interference caused by FM translators. The new deadline is set for Aug. 6 with reply comments due Sept. 5. Several parties requested an extension because of the complexity of the issues and the fact that many affected parties are not experienced with the FCC’s rulemaking process.
As our own Dan Kirkpatrick wrote about back in May, the FCC is proposing a streamlined process for resolving interference from FM translators by seeking comment on 1) what should be required in filing complaints alleging interference and 2) the options available to translator licensees to resolve interference.
The issues are important to everyone involved in FM radio. The number of complaints that the FCC has had to process recently indicates that full power stations are worried about reductions in the reach of their signals because of translator interference, and Low Power FM (LPFM) stations feel it is unfair that the engineering rules for evaluating translator applications are different from those for LPFM applications.
AM stations continue to press for more flexibility for their use of FM translators, the quality of at least some FM receivers is improving. Nevertheless the spectrum is becoming ever more crowded, and actual signal propagation does not always reflect what happens in real life. The FCC realizes that it is going to have to clarify rules and simplify procedures for resolving disputes to avoid sinking into a quagmire of endless litigation, with no one satisfied with either the amount of time taken or the ultimate outcome.
If you are looking for more FM signal opportunities, or if you have a station that is suffering degradation, you should think about filing comments. If you need help in preparing comments, contact us at (703) 812-0400.