The FCC yesterday released a Public Notice providing the details for its settlement window for mutually exclusive applications for new FM translators to rebroadcast AM stations. The settlement window will run through November 29. The mutually-exclusive applications (applications which conflict with each other as they cannot both operate without creating prohibited interference) are listed on an appendix available here. These applications were the ones filed earlier this summer in the FCC’s first window reserved for AM station licensees to file for new FM translators to rebroadcast their AM stations as part of the FCC’s AM revitalization proceeding. The first window was for Class C and D AM stations to submit applications. Class A and B AMs, which generally have greater coverage areas, will be able to file applications in a window to open either later this year or, at this point, more likely in early 2018. The majority of applications filed in this year’s window, which are not listed on the appendix of mutually exclusive applications and which did not receive a letter from the FCC in the last few weeks identifying deficiencies in their short-form applications, are likely “singletons,” meaning that these applications are not in conflict with any other and will likely be asked to file a “long-form” application completing the FCC Form 349 before being proposed for grant at some point later this year or early next year.
As we have written, as these applications were filed in the context of a potential auction, applicants cannot talk to each other except during announced settlement windows. Now that the settlement window has been announced, mutually exclusive applicants can discuss trying to resolve the mutual exclusivity either through technical means or by the dismissal of one of the applications. Technical means could include any “minor change” in the facilities initially proposed by one or both of the mutually-exclusive applicants, e.g. frequency moves to adjacent channels, transmitter site changes, or directional antenna proposals. Dismissal of applications can only be for the reimbursement of a dismissing applicant’s legitimate expenses – the dismissing applicant cannot be paid big bucks to dismiss its application. More details of the settlement process are set out in the Public Notice, but note that the deadline for the submission of any resolution to the FCC is November 29.
Mutually exclusive applications that remain in conflict with other applications at the conclusion of the settlement window will end up in an auction – and no one knows when that will occur. As there are still mutually exclusive applications from the 2003 FM translator window that have not yet been set for auction, it may well not be imminent. So resolving all conflicts before the November 29 deadline is certainly the most expedient way to get an application granted.
When the applicants that are not mutually exclusive, the singletons, will be notified of their status and asked for long-form applications to complete the application process, so that these applications can be further processed and granted, remains unknown at the moment – but should be expected later this year (or, at this point, possibly early next year). Stay alert for more developments.
This morning, Chairman Pai called on Apple to activate FM chips in iPhones. His tweet: https://twitter.com/AjitPaiFCC/status/913419619527995395
Our @NVBroadcasters tweet, which the Chairman liked: https://twitter.com/NVBroadcasters/status/913420219145768962.
by Paul McLane
Ajit Pai just weighed in more forcefully on the FM chip debate, and did something unusual, calling out an electronics manufacturer by name.
Pai — chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and already something of a hero to many U.S. radio broadcasters for his general words about radio as well as his deregulatory approach — previously had made known his support for the voluntary activation by phone makers of FM reception capability that is latent in most phones. And he gives no sign of changing his opposition to any kind of requirement or mandate to do that. But today he explicitly called on Apple, the big notable holdout whose iPhones seem to be everywhere, to turn on FM radio reception capability, posing this as a matter of public safety.
He wrote: “In recent years, I have repeatedly called on the wireless industry to activate the FM chips that are already installed in almost all smartphones sold in the United States. And I’ve specifically pointed out the public safety benefits of doing so. In fact, in my first public speech after I became Chairman, I observed that ‘[y]ou could make a case for activating chips on public safety grounds alone.’”
To Read the Full Article Click HERE
The week before last, we summarized an FCC draft order to relax rules on proofs of performance for AM stations – lessening the number of monitoring points needed in traditional partial proofs of performance, and relaxing a number of previous-imposed limitations on the use of Method of Moments proofs (see our post here for more details). While this decision, part of the FCC’s AM revitalization efforts, was slated for consideration at the full FCC meeting this week, instead it was adopted on circulation, the final version of the order available here. Most of the new rules will become effective at a later date after approval by the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act.
By Patricia Mazzei
September 20, 2017 4:03 PM
SAN JUAN Normally, Rubén Sánchez would not interrupt a live interview with as prominent a newsmaker as Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.
But Wednesday was anything but normal.
Less than an hour after Hurricane Maria plowed into Puerto Rico, Rosselló was updating Spanish-language radio listeners by phone on the Category 4 storm’s destructive path when host Sánchez suddenly interrupted.
It’s end of quarter time again, which brings with it various FCC deadlines. To assist in continuing to keep all our members up to speed, below are links to three recently published Pillsbury Advisories. For your convenience.
Last week, the FCC released a draft of an order to simplify the proofing of AM stations. This order will be considered at the FCC’s September 26 meeting. While the proposals to be adopted are part of the AM Revitalizationproceeding, even the Commission recognizes that these are not fundamental changes in the way that stations operate, but instead technical changes that can, hopefully, save some AM stations some money. The FCC also noted that it was removing proposals for changes in the AM main studio rules from the AM Revitalization proceeding as these changes are already being considered in the proceeding proposing to entirely eliminate the main studio rules (see our post here).
The rule changes in the proposed order address AM antenna proofs of performance – principally proofs that are conducted after a station has been initially constructed and licensed. The need to re-proof an AM station’s directional pattern typically occurs when additional antennas or other equipment is added to an existing AM tower, or when there are other changes that suggest to the licensee that the AM directional pattern’s values may have changed (e.g. when there is significant construction in the immediate vicinity of the tower). Most of the FCC’s planned changes deal with Method of Moments (“MoM”) modeling used to proof AM stations (see our posts here and here on the FCC’s adoption of the computerized technology used to make proofing of AM antennas easier), though one change dealt with more traditional AM proof of performance techniques.
The rule change affecting traditional proofs deals with how many radials need to be proofed when there are changes in the equipment located on the AM tower or when other changes necessitate an AM partial proof of performance. The FCC’s draft order provides that measurements only need be taken on the radials in an AM pattern that contain a monitoring point. In the current rules, additional radials adjacent to the radials containing monitoring points must be measured when the station has a pattern with fewer than four monitored radials.
For stations using MoM modeling to proof their facilities, the FCC’s draft order would make a number of changes to make the modeling process somewhat simpler. These changes would:
The FCC declined to allow MoM proofing for AM stations with a skirt-fed antenna, finding that the technology has not yet been reliably demonstrated for modeling the patterns of such antennas. Obviously, each of these changes is very technical, so consult your engineer to determine how they may affect your operations.
Finally, the FCC stated that it would no longer be considering any changes to the rules for AM station’s main studios as part of the AM revitalization proceeding. Instead, those changes will be part of the proceeding to abolish the main studio rules entirely. As we wrote here, FCC Chairman Pai stated in his speech at last week’s NAB Radio Show that he had reviewed the record of that proceeding, and was convinced that the main studio rule needed to be abolished. Obviously, the other Commissioners need to weigh in before any change in the rule can be adopted. Some have suggested that the main studio rule may be abolished before the end of the year, so stay tuned to watch for that action.
And watch for the FCC to adopt these proposals on AM improvements at its meeting in two weeks.
Our thoughts go out to all of the victims who are suffering through the horrific tragedy of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. To show your support or for more information click HERE to be redirected to the American Red Cross/Harvey page and HERE for the American Red Cross/Irma page.
To our fellow broadcasters in Texas and Florida, we commend your efforts of informing and keeping your communities safe.
The Nevada Broadcasters Association is proud to have once again secured an exclusive meeting with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. The first meeting was in Las Vegas during NAB last April, and the second was in Reno in August. These meetings have been a great opportunity for Nevada’s broadcasters to have meaningful discussions with the Chairman about issues broadcasters are facing on the federal level.
In this meeting, topics ranged from the spectrum repack, to translator issues, to Chairman Pai’s predictions for the future of broadcasting.
Chairman Pai is a staunch supporter of broadcasters and pledges to do everything he can to protect our industry.
The FCC has issued a series of public notices to broadcasters and other FCC regulated entities in the path of Hurricane Irma. General guidance was issued by the FCC, here, discussing how stations can get special temporary authority to operate with facilities different than those specified in their licenses by email or even by telephone during the emergency. This may be particularly important if stations towers or antennas are damaged by the storm and, to continue service, stations need to use alternate facilities. During the recent Texas Hurricane harvey, the FCC even issued some daytime only AM stations authority to temporarily operate with nighttime operations where they were providing emergency information. If STAs are needed, the public notice provides information about where to call or email
The FCC has also activated its Disaster Information Reporting System for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and is likely to extend it to portions of Florida in the near future. This system is used by stations and other licensees to report cessation or changes to their operations. In some cases, reporting these details may provide a station with access to information about how to speed the delivery of equipment, fuel or other emergency supplies to stations in the affected areas. The reporting system is voluntary, but encouraged by the FCC.
We obviously hope for the safety and security of all in the affected areas, and thank all the broadcasters who will, in the coming days, be spending countless hours reporting important information to the residents of their service areas. As always, they provide an invaluable service at times like there, and we all pray that everyone stays safe.