FCC Report 11/3: Are More AMs Ready To Run The Gamut To All-Digital?

Proposed Rulemakings

The Gamut 820 WWFD FrederickAt the FCC’s November Open Meeting, the commission has stated it will consider opening potential rule changes allowing AM stations to go all-digital and to modify the rule disallowing duplication of programming on commonly owned stations.

Hubbard Radio’s “The Gamut” 820 WWFD Frederick MD has been operating in all digital mode since July 16, 2018 in collaboration with HD Radio owner Xperi. The rulemaking will seek comments on permitting AM stations to voluntarily switch to all-digital, while establishing technical standards for doing so.

The programming duplication rule, established in 1992, currently states “No commercial AM or FM radio station shall operate so as to devote more than 25 percent of the total hours in its average broadcast week to programs that duplicate those of any station in the same service (AM or FM) which is commonly owned or with which it has a time brokerage agreement if the principal community contours (predicted or measured 5 mV/m groundwave for AM stations and predicted 3.16 mV/m for FM stations) of the stations overlap and the overlap constitutes more than 50 percent of the total principal community contour service area of either station.” The rulemaking seeks to discuss whether it should be modified or eliminated.

The FCC also opened a proposed rulemaking seeking comments on whether to eliminate or revise the rules regarding access to FM or TV antenna sites. The current rules, established in 1945, prohibit the grant or renewal of a license it the licensee controlling an antenna site that “is peculiarly suitable for broadcasting in the area” does not make the site available for use by other licensees.

FCC Actions

The FCC has issued an Order to Pay or Show Cause to Cox Broadcast Group’s Conservative Talk 1100 WCGA Woodbine GA for failure to delinquent regulatory fees and associated interest, administrative costs and penalties. WCGA owes $11,524.21 for fees owed in 2010, 2013, and 2016 through 2018.

La Favorita Inc.’s Regional Mexican “La Mejor” trimulcast of 1130 WLBA Gainesville, 1460 WXEM Buford and 1600 WAOS Austell GA were issued an Order to Pay or Show Cause over $79,187,69 in owed fees for 2010 through 2018. Both groups have 60 days to submit evidence of the fee payments or show a reason why they should not be paid.

The Order to Pay of Show Cause issued to Livingston W. Fulton’s over 1250 WSRA Albany GA was dismissed as Fulton was not the licensee of the station.

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