The FCC has issued a proposal that would allow more FM stations to increase digital power and allow asymmetric power on digital sidebands.  Interested parties have until September 21 to file comments.  Reply comments are due October 6.   

Power Increase for Digital FM Stations 

In the Order and Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) released on August 1, 2023, the FCC proposed to allow more digital FM stations to operate at power levels up to -10dBc.  To that end, the FCC proposed an updated table for determining a station’s maximum permissible FM Digital ERP.  If adopted, the NPRM would allow stations to increase power by submitting a simple notification on LMS.   

The FCC sought feedback on these proposals.  It also invited comments on related issues, including: 

  • Interference Complaints.  The FCC proposed to extend existing procedures by requiring analog stations that experience digital interference to collaborate with the interfering station to confirm and eliminate interference.  According to the proposal, the analog station would only be permitted to file a complaint if the stations fail to agree on interference remediation measures. 
  • Secondary Services.  The FCC proposed to continue limiting eligibility for interference remediation to full-power stations only. 
  • Notification to Other Stations.  The NPRM tentatively concluded that filing a notification of the power increase also suffices to provide other stations with notice such that no other notice would be required. 

Asymmetric Sideband Operation for Digital FM Stations 

In addition, the FCC proposed to authorize digital FM stations to operate with different power levels on the upper and lower digital sidebands (“asymmetric sideband operation”).  The FCC proposed not to require stations to obtain experimental authorization for asymmetric sideband operation as is currently required.  As with the power increase proposal, stations changing from symmetric to asymmetric sideband operation would only need to file a notification in LMS, if the NPRM is adopted.  

The NPRM solicited comments on related issues as well, including implementation of the same interference complaint and notification procedures as proposed in connection with the digital FM power increase. 

If you have questions about the proposed rules or are interested in filing comments, please contact your FHH attorney.