RadioWorld reports the FCC seeks to reform several of the technical rules pertaining to the AM band, including:
- The addition of two AM-only windows for AM stations to obtain new FM translators. The first will give an AM station more flexibility to move an FM translator that has been purchased on the secondary market, an idea that had been advanced in recent months of debate on this issue. The second will give AM stations without FM translators the chance to apply for one. That has been a goal of AM advocates; the timing of the latter is unclear at this writing but was expected to be later than the first step.
- Elimination of the so-called ratchet rule, which requires an AM station to ratchet back its nighttime signal when changes are made to the AM station’s facilities. While the goal was to reduce nighttime AM interference to other AM stations, the rule, its detractors say, has been a loophole for delaying service improvements and has resulted in a net loss of interference-free nighttime AM service.
"This is a great day for AM radio and for millions of listeners across America. For decades, AM radio has been a critical source of information, entertainment and lifeline programming for local communities. We are particularly grateful to Commissioners Pai and Clyburn, who have both championed AM radio and worked hard to find ways to improve its reach, and to the Media Bureau for taking important steps to improve and expand AM radio service. NAB also salutes Chairman Wheeler, who worked with his colleagues to develop a comprehensive proposal to address this important issue."