Friday, February 26, 2016

Albany NY: iHM's WGY Starts Petition Drive To 'Save AM Radio'

When the sun goes down, AM radio signals travel much farther. You can listen to 50,000-watt stations such as WGY 810 AM hundreds of miles away.

But, reports the Albany NY Times-Union,  that could soon change, if the Federal Communications Commission goes through with a plan to let more local stations broadcast through the evening hours and potentially makes changes in the daytime signal of WGY and other powerful stations.

The proposed change in protections to Class A stations such as WGY would ease restrictions on the smaller stations, which are now required to reduce power or change the direction they broadcast their signal so they don't conflict with the more powerful Class A stations.

WGY has begun an online petition drive to oppose the changes.

Called "Save AM Radio," the petition opposes reducing WGY's so-called "protected service area."

The changes, WGY says, "will make it very difficult for many of our listeners to receive our programming, especially at night and during morning and evening drive times."

The station says it was licensed in 1922 and that part of its mission was to provide emergency weather alerts and other important information "in a large, interference-free coverage area."

WGY 810 AM (50 Kw) Red=Local Coverage Area
The FCC, meanwhile, says the changes are being considered in an effort "to help revitalize the AM service."

But WGY's parent, iHeart Media, told the FCC its 18 Class A stations "are among the only AM stations that garner substantial listenership."

It said those stations would lose an average of 46 percent of their audience with a proposed change in daytime broadcast rules and that rural listeners would be adversely affected by changes in nighttime rules.

The FCC is accepting comments through March 21 and replies through April 18, at www.fcc/ecfs. Click on "submit a filing." The proceeding number is 13-249.

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