Tuesday, March 27, 2007

New AM stations

Deer Lodge, Montana: 1400KHz:
New station KBCK on the air.
1,000 watts non-directional
at 46-24-26N/112-43-08W.

Savannah, Georgia: 1520KHz:
permit granted for new station.
50,000 watts daytime
700 watts night
DA-2 (two different patterns)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Nighttime AM IBOC approved - final IBOC rules adopted

The Radio Ink online news site reports the FCC has this morning approved final rules for digital terrestrial radio in the US.

Read the link for more details. A few highlights:

  • No prior FCC approval is necessary to begin digital operation.

  • AM stations, previously limited to daytime-only digital operation, will be allowed to run their digital signals at night.

  • Stations must offer at least one free-to-air program stream, simulcasting their analog signal. Additional program streams may be broadcast, either free or subscription. (FM only; AM IBOC lacks the technical ability to multicast)

  • Content rules - EAS, legal IDs, etc. - will be applied to all streams of the IBOC signal.

  • Digital-only stations will not be allowed at this time. (apparently this will stymie the plans of North Carolina stations WHDX and WHDZ which had reportedly planned to sign on as digital-only operations) IBOC stations must maintain their analog operations.

  • No deadline has been set for shutting down analog radio and going digital-only.

  • The FCC has not yet released a Public Notice on this. (keep an eye on the FCC website.) Usually, this kind of proceeding takes effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register; said publication will take between a few days and a week. So one might expect AM stations to begin operating in digital mode at night in about 5 weeks, around the beginning of May. I would not rule out the possibility of stations that are already operating IBOC during the day receiving Special Temporary Authority to engage in nighttime digital operation before the new rules go into effect. Indeed, I would not rule out blanket Special Temporary Authority to cover all IBOC stations.

    Many of the 50kw clear-channel stations are already equipped for IBOC and will likely begin operating at night as soon as the rules go into effect. The likely result will be massive interference in the 640-1220 and 1500-1580KHz bands. I don't see the new rules spurring many stations to add IBOC though, if they aren't already running it. IBOC is not particularly popular among the smaller stations in 540-630, 1230-1490, or above 1580KHz and I don't think it will become so particularly quickly.

    I guess time will tell.

    More links:
    FCC News Release

    Commissioner statements:
    Kevin Martin
    Michael Copps
    Jonathan Adelstein
    Deborah Taylor Tate
    Robert McDowell

    Radio World article
    another Radio World article

    Tuesday, March 20, 2007

    Major AM station changes

    Waverly, Michigan: 1080KHz:
    WOAP has been granted permission to move from Owosso.
    Power will increase to 50,000 watts, and the station will go directional with a six-tower array.
    The tower site will be at 42-37-10N/84-34-31W, just south of Lansing.

    Ripley, Ohio: 1180KHz:
    KELE has applied for permission to move from Mountain Grove, Missouri.
    (yes, they're moving from Missouri to Ohio...)
    The move also involves a frequency change from 1360KHz; indeed, just about all that will stay the same is the power, at 1,000 watts daytime only.
    The non-directional single tower will be at 38-38-55N/84-00-42W which, confusingly enough, is in Kentucky. (just west of Maysville and just across the Ohio River from Ripley, the city of license)
    Ripley is roughly midway between Cincinnati and Huntington, West Virginia.
    KELE appears to have won AM Auction #84 which would appear to give it the right to make this move.

    Monday, March 19, 2007

    Kentucky AM station burned

    The Associated Press is reporting WANO-1230 Pineville, Kentucky is off the air after an arson fire destroyed their transmitter building.

    New AM station; station gone

    Gatineau, Quebec: 1670KHz:
    New station granted.
    1,000 watts fulltime, non-directional.
    To carry programming for children (ages 4-18, a pretty broad spread!) in French.
    Gatineau is just across the river from Ottawa, Ontario.

    Greenville, Mississippi: 900KHz:
    WDDT deleted.
    The FCC has dismissed the renewal application of WDDT-900 Greenville.
    The station's owners, Willis Broadcasting, had been in serious trouble with the FCC recently, and had entered into a consent decree in which they agreed further licenses would be lost if certain benchmarks weren't met.
    I don't know exactly what happened with WDDT - it may or may not have had anything to do with the consent decree. It's not at all impossible that Willis voluntarily asked the FCC to dismiss the WDDT renewal. I suspect we'll hear more about this one.

    Friday, March 16, 2007

    New AM stations

    Ajo, Arizona: 1340KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    250 watts fulltime.
    One tower at 32-23-29N/112-52-07W.

    Fitzwilliam Depot, New Hampshire: 870KHz:
    Application for new station.
    780 watts daytime, non-directional
    400 watts nighttime, directional, three towers
    at 42-45-59N/72-06-59W.
    Fitzwilliam Depot is about 20 miles southeast of Keene in southwestern New Hampshire, very close to the Massachusetts border.

    Houghton, Michigan: 1340KHz:
    Application for new station.
    1,000 watts daytime
    720 watts nighttime
    at 47-06-13N/88-34-04W.
    Houghton is in the Keewenaw Peninsula at the northern tip of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

    San Luis Obispo, California: 1580KHz:
    Application for new station.
    1,000 watts daytime, directional.
    1,300 watts nighttime, directional.
    DA-2 (two different patterns)
    with two towers at 35-16-39N/120-39-06W.

    Big Horn, Wyoming: 1370Khz:
    Application for new station.
    10,000 watts daytime, non-directional
    250 watts nighttime, directional, three towers
    at 44-41-11N/106-59-46W
    Big Horn is just southwest of Sheridan in north-central Wyoming.

    FCC to release final IBOC rules (maybe)

    See the official meeting agenda here.

    The FCC has placed IBOC on the agenda for their regularly-scheduled Open Meeting on March 22nd. (next Thursday) They will be considering final rules for digital operation.

    I doubt there will be any earthshaking news out of this meeting, EXCEPT...

    that it will be decided whether or not to authorize nighttime AM IBOC, and under what technical restrictions.

    March 22nd will be a red-letter day for the AM DXer. Stay tuned.

    Friday, March 09, 2007

    New AM station

    Burbank, Washington: 1560KHz:
    KVAN has filed for a license-to-cover.
    10,000 watts day
    700 watts night
    DA-2 (different directional patterns day & night)
    46-10-11N/119-01-32W, a few miles east of Kennewick.
    DXers in the Pacific Northwest are reporting hearing this station.

    Call letters assigned for new AM stations

    After way too long, the FCC issued the periodic "Call Letter Changes" report this noon. Assignments to new AM stations:

    Cameron, Ariz.: 1450 KYNN
    Hilo, Hawaii: 1590 KIXC
    Tonopah, Nev.: 1400 KTNP
    Berlin, N.H.: 1490 WRTN
    Mount Angel, Ore.: 1130 KTRP
    Charlestown, R.I.: 1370 WKFD*
    Cameron, S.C.: 1490 WTQS

    * This station is not related to the previous WKFD-1370 in Wickford.

    Tuesday, March 06, 2007

    New AM station

    Rhinelander, Wisconsin: 640KHz:
    Application for new station.
    620 watts daytime, non-directional
    420 watts nighttime, directional (2 towers)

    New low-band VHF TV station

    KPTW channel 6, Casper, Wyoming.

    KPTW replaces TV translator K06KH. There isn't much of an increase here though - it's less than doubling its power, to 330 watts.

    It's a PBS affiliate, probably relaying (full-power) KCWC channel 4.

    Monday, March 05, 2007

    FM translators of AM stations

    The FCC has granted two AM stations permission to use FM translators. (low-power relay stations) Normally, FM translators can only be used to relay FM stations.

    One of the stations involved is WGNS-1450 Murfreesboro, Tennessee. It'll be relayed by FM translators W263AI (100.5) and W270AF (101.9), both also located in Murfreesboro.

    New AM station

    Eads, Colorado: 1450KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    250 watts fulltime, non-directional

    Friday, March 02, 2007

    New AM stations

    Montreal, Quebec: 650KHz:
    Application for new station.
    5,800 watts day & night. (I presume DA-1 or DA-2 but this information has not yet been released)
    French, religious.

    Montreal, Quebec: 1400KHz:
    Application for new station.
    1,000 watts day & night. I presume ND but this information has not yet been released.

    Montreal, Quebec: 1410KHz:
    Application for new station.
    10,000 watts day & night. I presume DA-2 (same facilities as CFMB used on this frequency before they moved to 1280) but this information has not yet been released.

    There have also been five applications filed for a new FM station in Montreal on 106.3.

    Thursday, March 01, 2007

    FCC reissues PSRAs/PSSAs

    Many AM stations have a PSRA or PSSA - "Presunrise Service Authorization" or "Postsunset
    Service Authorization". These allow stations that otherwise would not be permitted to
    operate at night to do so at reduced power.

    Years ago, these authorizations were issued by the Commission's own motion; they calculated
    how much power each station could use during each 15-minute period during each month without
    interfering with other stations, and sent each station a letter setting forth these authorized
    powers. Rumor has it the Commission since lost their copies of those letters... in any case,
    we haven't known how much power each station was allowed in these periods unless the stations
    told us...

    This year, the dates on which we switch to/from Daylight Saving Time are changing. The FCC has
    taken this opportunity to revamp and reissue these authorizations. They've posted letters to
    each PSRA/PSSA-eligible station's "Correspondance Folder" indicating their allowed PSRA & PSSA
    powers. These letters are also accessible to the general public, through the Commission's
    website. Thus, DXers now know, for the first time in years, how much power AM stations are
    actually allowed in the pre-sunrise & post-sunset periods. (but keep reading...)

    These powers can get pretty confusing. Let's take station WDKN-1260, Dickson, Tennessee, as
    an example. WDKN is authorized 5,000 watts daytime, 18 watts at night. For this month, they
    have four authorized post-sunset powers:

    1. 6-6:30pm: 51 watts
    2. 6:30-7pm: 24 watts
    3. 7-8pm: 16 watts
    4. After 8pm: 18 watts

    (these times are Standard Time. They become 7-7:30, 7:30-8, and 8-9pm Daylight Time on the 11th.)

    Note however, that this third power is less than their 18 watts authorized night power... In lieu
    of their 16 watts 7-8pm PSSA power, WDKN may instead elect to use their 18 watts night power.

    To make things even more confusing(grin), WDKN also gets a 500-watt PSRA for use between
    6am and sunrise.

    But there's more. These three power levels are just for March. There are eleven more sets of
    figures for the other 11 months. In November and December, there are not three, but *four*
    different power levels.

    And finally... these are *maximum* powers. WDKN may choose to use lower post-sunrise powers.
    Or they may choose to not operate post-sunset at all.

    Stations are required to notify the FCC if they intend to use these PSSA powers. We don't yet
    know if the FCC will report their notifications on their website.

    If you'd like to see the PSRA or PSSA authorizations for a station:

    New AM stations

    Gibsonia, Florida: 700KHz:
    Application for new station.
    2,500 watts daytime
    250 watts night
    6 towers (DA-2) at 28-08-33/81-52-41

    Winnemucca, Nevada: 1340KHz:
    New station granted.
    250 watts fulltime
    non-directional at 40-58-48/117-45-37