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REC files comments in LPFM/NCE Comparative Review and Public Notice proceedings

Today, REC Networks had filed separate comments in two different proceedings before the Federal Communications Commission.

MB Docket 19-3 calls for some changes in the comparative review process for noncommercial educational (NCE) and Low Power FM (LPFM) broadcast stations. This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking called for the following:

FCC further clarifies that LPFM stations are required to carry pre- and post- filing announcements

REC has been contacted by Albert Shuldnier, Audio Division Chief to notify us that the Bureau has reviewed the issue of on-air public notice of renewal notices. The new interpretation is that §311(a)(1) of the Communications Act requires this public notice and that LPFM can't be exempt from a provision in the Communications Act.

Therefore, the new opinion of the Commission's Media Bureau is that LPFM stations ARE REQUIRED TO CARRY PRE AND POST FILING ANNOUNCEMENTS.

18-119: FCC adopts new FM translator interference remediation rules

Updated at 4:15 PM EDT 5/9/2019

Other resources: The text of the Report and Order can be found here.
REC's revised advice: Translator to LPFM interference handling
 U/D Ratio Calculator and an explanation of U/D Ratio.

Today, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Report and Order on MB Docket 18-119 which calls for modifications to §74.1204 and §74.1203 of the rules as it relates to predicted and actual interference caused by new and modified FM translators.  

As noted by Lisa Scanlan, attorney advisor for the Audio Division, the proposed changes addresses the increasing number of FM translators coming on the air and the uptick in inteference complaints from primary FM stations due to the increasing number of translators on the air.  Scanlan states because of how the interference resolution process can be lengthy, contentious and expensive for all parties concerned, there need to be more certainty and clarity regarding how stations report and resolve issues with translator interference.  [continue reading]

RM-11836: All-digital AM should be the "final solution"

REC has filed comments in response to Bryan Broadcasting Corporation's Petition for Rulemaking to allow AM broadcast stations to voluntarily discontinue all AM analog broadcasting and convert to the HD Radio MA3 mode.  MA3 is an all-digital operation.  Two variants of MA3 will allow AM stations to operate in a 20 kHz wide channel where secondary and teritary sidebands more than 5 kHz from the center frequency are either reduced by 15 kHz or they are completely suppressed.  The MA3 mode is a far departure from the "hybrid" MA1 mode which involves the use of a 30 kHz wide channel.  In the past, the MA1 hybrid digital mode on AM, especially at night, has resulted in substantial first and second adjacent interference to analog AM stations forcing many stations to turn off the digital mode and leaving a bad taste in the mouths of AM listeners and radio enthusiasts across the nation.  MA3 mode uses a narrower channel and therefore reduces the chances of digital to analog interference.  

Statement of Michelle Bradley: Report of the 2018 National EAS Test and LPFM

EAS LogoToday, the Federal Communications Commission Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released the Report of the 2018 National EAS Test.  Here are some of the bullet points from that test:

  • This year's EAS test was different as it was tainted by political rhetoric surrounding the the fact that this was the first year that Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) would be integrated into the national test and that the alert would appear on mobile devices as "Presidential Alert".
  • Overall, radio had a 78.7% participation in this year's test.  This is a slight increase from 78.5% in 2017.
  • LPFM's participation this year was 48.4%, this is a slight decrease from 48.5% in the previous test.  
  • Of the 3,802 radio broadcasters that failed to file in the 2018 test, 1,121 (29%) of these stations were LPFMs.  
  • LPTV (Low Power Television) had a massive slump in participation this year falling from 66.3% in 2017 to 41.5% in the most recent test.
  • For the second year in a row, low power broadcasters (LPFM and LPTV) were called out for "[reducing] the overall participation rate of all broadcasters".
  • Of the 962 LPFMs that did participate, 869 (90.3%) successfully received the alert and 789 (82.0%) successfully retransmitted the alert.  By comparison, in 2017, 92.5% of stations received the alert and 83.8% did rebroadcast it.