Friday, December 31, 2010

FCC proposes changes to Travelers' Information Stations

The FCC is soliciting comments on proposals to change rules for Travelers' Information Stations. (TISs) These are low-powered AM stations, often in the expanded band, usually offering information about road construction and/or congestion. They may also provide non-commercial information about tourist attractions. Three organizations interested in these stations asked the FCC to broaden the scope of permissible service for these stations.

It appears some practices that are common among TISs are not particularly legal.. indeed, the NPRM notes that a Notice of Violation has been issued to TIS WQGR42 in Santa Monica, California for relaying a NOAA Weather Radio station. Also apparently not normally allowed, is broadcast of the same program on multiple TISs. (widely done by stations here in the Nashville area, though it's possible they have a FCC waiver)

The primary question being asked is what type of programming should these stations be allowed to broadcast. Some of the types proposed:

  • Relays of NOAA Weather Radio.

  • Amber Alerts.

  • Alternative emergency numbers when 911 is inoperative.

  • Homeland Security terror alert levels.

  • Public health information.

  • Civil defense information.

  • Information about 511 information services.

  • Simply, the broadcast of any information of a non-commercial nature.

  • One commenter suggested NOAA Weather Radio could be broadcast only when particular SAME codes are detected, indicating certain types of severe weather alerts exist.

    The NPRM also asks:

  • Should TIS stations be allowed at a distance from major roads?

  • Should it be permissible for the same program to be simulcast by multiple TISs?

  • Should the service be renamed the "Local Government Radio Service"?

  • Friday, December 24, 2010

    More AM call changes

    HAWA Honolulu 1500 KHKA CC from KUMU
    OKLA Midwest City 1340 KGHM CC from KEBC
    CALI Visalia 1400 KRZR CC from KEZL
    GEOR Dry Branch 1670 WPLA CC from WFSM
    GEOR Toccoa 1420 WVNG CC from WLET
    VIRG Alexandria 730 WTNT CC from WXTR
    WEST Huntington 1470 WNBL CC from WRWB
    FLOR Fort Walton Beach 1400 WFDM CC from WZFN
    NEWM Isleta 1510 KMYN CC from KABR

    Ibiquity proposes "AM RDS"

    Ibiquity (the HD Radio/IBOC folks) and the NAB have released an "AM Digital Data Service System Study Report". This report proposes a data system for AM radio similar to the RDS system available on FM.

    Read the report here.


    (hopefully the above sentence will quell any wild rumors of ADDS being the death of AM DX(grin)!)

    The ADDS proposes to provide:

    - Station Message Service.
    - Station Name (call letters) up to 8 characters.
    - Station Message up to 158 bytes. "Check us out at", something like that.

    Presumably the SMS is for information about the station itself. It can change (there are provisions for notifying the receiver the Station Message has changed) but probably not very often.

    - Program Service Data.
    - Title
    - Artist
    - Album
    - Genre
    - Content
    - Commercial

    The first four are probably familiar to anyone who's worked with CD-ripping software or MP3 files. Ibiquity proposes to broadcast the ID3 tags for a musical selection. Tags are valid up to 1,024 bytes. The proposal calls for the commercial tag to contain:

    - Price
    - Date until which the price is valid
    - URL (web address to locate the product online)
    - Type of delivery (some products, like music downloads, can be delivered online -- others may require visiting a bricks-and-mortar store)
    - Name of seller
    - Description of product
    - *picture* of product (in 1,024 bytes???)
    - Logo


    This system does NOT propose to extend the station's signal beyond its current bandwidth. If the station is already using IBOC, it will continue to occupy the bandwidth it already does. If the station is NOT using IBOC, adding ADDS will NOT widen the station's occupied bandwidth.

    Three sets of data carriers are proposed. Only the first set is obligatory; the other two sets are optional but will greatly increase the speed at which data can be transmitted. (at the expense of potential self-interference -- it is possible adding ADDS will cause the station to interfere *with itself*.)

    The obligatory set of carriers is at 181.7Hz either side of the main carrier/station's quoted frequency. Since few AM receivers have much response below 300Hz this should be fairly well rejected. These carriers will be 26dB below main carrier.

    The optional carrier sets are at twice and three times this separation -- 363.4 and 545.1Hz. These will be 40 and 45dB respectively below main carrier. This gets into territory not rejected by the receiver's filtering -- but in most cases 40dB attenuation should be enough to make them inaudible below ambient noise levels.

    With just the obligatory carrier set, a data rate of 91.5 baud should be possible. If the optional carrier sets are added, up to 1,098 baud should be possible.

    The system is designed to be compatible with IBOC.


    At this point this is simply a study. It's not (yet) part of the standard, let alone ready for any station to broadcast it, let alone for any receivers to be available.

    IMHO this is good news for the AM DXer. It is essentially "RDS for AM". Many American FM DXers (myself included) have found FM RDS indispensable for identifying stations running continuous classical music/NPR talk shows/etc... European FM DXers don't believe there are still American FM DXers who *don't* use RDS! (it seems just about every FM DXer in Europe does) It does run the risk of generating additional self-interference, but that's not going to make things any worse for us.

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    AM call changes

    The following stations have changed callsigns recently:

    FLOR Jacksonville 600 WBOB CC from WBWL
    OHIO Niles 1540 WYCL CC from WRTK
    NEVA Mesquite 1250 KACE CC for NS
    IDAH Wendell 1340 KXSL CC for NS
    FLOR Leesburg 1410 WQBQ CC from WRHB
    IDAH Middleton 1400 KXIV CC for NS
    NEWM Isleta 1510 KMYN CC from KABR
    GEOR Rossville 980 WDYN CC from WUUS

    Congress proposes relaxing LPFM restrictions

    H.R. 6533, the “Local Community Radio Act of 2010”, has passed both Houses of Congress and has been sent to President Obama for his signature. Since it is highly unlikely Obama will veto the bill, it will be law by the time you read this.

    When the LPFM service was created, the FCC initially proposed to allow low-power stations on the 2nd-adjacent (separated by 0.4MHz) and 3rd-adjacent (separated by 0.6MHz) channels to local full-power stations. After considerable lobbying by the National Association of Broadcasters, the FCC dropped 2nd-adjacent channels, but they refused to change their mind on 3rd-adjacents.

    After further lobbying, Congress did it for them – passing, in 2001, a law requiring the FCC to place 3rd-adjacent channels off limits. As you might guess, this restriction greatly limited the number of possible LPFM stations. H.R. 6533's primary purpose is to undo the 2001 Act.

    Going over the bill point-by-point: (and remembering that I'm a TV engineer, not a lawyer!)

    Section 1: simply establishes the “Local Community Radio Act of 2010” name, so people don't have to call it “HR6533”.

    Section 2: Repeals the restriction on 3rd-adjacent channels.

    Section 3: Orders the FCC to eliminate minimum distance separation requirements for 3rd-adjacent LPFMs. (Section 2 repeals the requirement that the FCC must create these restrictions, but allows the FCC to choose to keep the restrictions. Section 3 orders the FCC to not keep the restrictions.)

    Section 3 also prohibits the FCC from further reducing the separation requirements for 1st and 2nd-adjacent operation. However.. it allows the Commission to waive 2nd-adjacent restrictions if applicants use terrain-sensitive methods (Longley-Rice) to establish no interference will result. Stations that receive such a waiver must suspend operation immediately if the FCC notifies them of an interference complaint.

    Section 4: Prohibits the FCC from relaxing distance separations from stations (including FM translators) which broadcast a radio reading service on an analog subcarrier. In practice, few markets have more than one such station, and they're generally in the non-commercial band where there are few LPFMs.

    Section 5: Requires that LPFMs, FM translators, and FM booster stations remain equal in status. In other words, a new LPFM cannot bump an existing translator – and a new translator cannot bump an existing LPFM. The Commission is also required to maintain all three of these services as secondary to full-power stations.

    Section 6: Requires the FCC to address the potential for LPFM interference to 3rd-adjacent signals at the input of FM translators.

    Section 7: For 3rd-adjacent operations.. LPFM stations are required to provide the same interference protection to full-power stations that FM translators are required to provide. LPFMs authorized on 3rd adjacents must, for their first year of operation, periodically broadcast announcements inviting listeners receiving interference to full-power stations to report such interference. LPFMs must relay any such complaints to the FCC and any affected full-power stations within 48 hours and must cooperate in addressing such interference.

    LPFMs on 3rd adjacents “...shall be required...” to address interference complaints within the protected contour of the full-power station, and “...shall be encouraged...” to address all other interference complaints.

    In certain circumstances*, 1st, 2nd, 3rd-adjacent, and co-channel LPFMs must protect full-power stations from interference outside those stations' protected contours, to the same extent that FM translators must do so. Protection is not required in areas far enough from the full-power station that a LPFM could be authorized there on the same frequency.

    *”Certain circumstances” means the full-power station is licensed to a community in New Jersey. The Act doesn't put it that way – it says “...significantly populated States with more than 3,000,000 population and a population density greater than 1,000 people per one square mile land area,...” New Jersey and Rhode Island are the only states with more than 1,000 people per square mile, and Rhode Island has only a few more than 1,000,000 residents.

    The FCC is required to accept complaints at any distance from a 3rd-adjacent station, and to accept complaints of interference to mobile reception. It doesn't say what the Commission must do with such complaints...

    Section 8: Requires the FCC to conduct study on the economic impact of LPFM on full-power commercial FM radio. (in my humble opinion the cost of the study will exceed LPFM's economic impact on commercial FM radio...) The Act does not require any action be taken on the basis of this study.

    What does it mean?

    LPFM interests would have liked to see more. They'd rather not have to battle with thousands of out-of-state translators for channels; they'd like to have hard-and-fast distance separation requirements beyond which, interference complaints would not be accepted.

    But with the NAB so bent out of shape over LPFM, I think you can reasonably assume H.R. 6533 was the best bill LPFM interests would get.

    I think the FCC will first address LPFMs that may currently be silent after losing their frequencies to new/modified full-power stations. Some of these stations may be approaching the one-year silence deadline, after which their licenses will be canceled.

    Next, I think the FCC will address stations that are operating, but on less-than-optimum frequencies. The LPFM here in Nashville is currently operating under waiver on 2nd-adjacent frequency 107.1. The operation is legal but the LPFM suffers considerable interference from WUHU-107.1 in Kentucky. 103.9 and 94.9 are much clearer frequencies here. I suspect the LPFM will file for one of these frequencies, and I believe the FCC will consider such applications before they consider any for completely new LPFM stations.

    Only then will the Commission consider applications for completely new LPFMs.

    Friday, December 03, 2010

    AM station major change requested

    Jeffersontown, Kentucky: 1200KHz:
    WGRK requests move from 1540 Greensburg.
    Power from 1,000 watts daytime only (500 watts critical hours)
    Site from 37-15-34N/85-30-57W


    5,000 watts daytime only (2500 watts critical hours)
    38-18-58N/85-42-13, but critical hours 38-11-04/85-29-57.

    This is a move of 119km (74 miles) (for the main site) into the Louisville metropolitan area.
    The critical hours and daytime sites are 23km (14 miles) apart.

    If granted this would be the only station I know of to use different sites daytime and critical hours.

    FCC proposal on TV spectrum refarming

    edited by w9wi 2010-12-03 1041 to add the title I forgot the first time!)

    OK, I've had some time to read the FCC proposals on further refarming of TV spectrum. The way I read it (don't guarantee I've got it right)

    The link:

    The highlights:

    - No specific channels are targeted for refarming. They propose to make all UHF channels co-primary between TV and new land mobile services. Any channel surrendered by a TV station would be available for land mobile. Land mobile would protect existing TV facilities, but new TV stations would protect land mobile.

    - Stations would be encouraged to voluntarily share their channel with another station(s). Nobody would be required to channel-share. Stations that volunteer would receive a cut of the revenue when surrendered channels are auctioned.

    - FCC envisions two HD streams could be broadcast over a single channel. More than two SD streams could be transmitted. They mention some stations fear sharing would result in poor HD picture quality; an inability to add subchannels; and/or the inability to implement mobile DTV.

    1.Channel splits would not necessarily be 50/50. Stations might agree to some other split.

    2.Stations would be individually responsible for things such as EAS, indecency, children's educational programming, etc..

    3.The FCC does NOT propose to allow the addition of new stations, not currently authorized, to a shared channel.

    4.They ask about sharing between commercial and non-commercial stations. Should a non-commercial station, on a channel reserved for non-commercial operation, be allowed to offer half of its channel to a commercial station?

    5.They also ask whether LPTVs should be allowed to share channels, either with each other (IMHO they already are!) or with full power stations.
    (the idea of sharing a channel between a LPTV and a full-power station brings up some interesting issues. To the best of my knowledge it is not possible to split an ATSC channel among more than one transmitter – if two or more stations share a channel, they must share the same transmitter. It is not possible to split the power levels either. You can't operate WIIW-LP's half of channel 14 at 15kw while operating WHTN-TV's half at 500kw. So if a LPTV shares with a full-power (FP) station, either the LPTV becomes a FP station or the FP station limits its power to LP levels...

    Not sure what the FCC is thinking here.

    At one point they write “...we do not envision that channel sharing, from a technological perspective would entail a fixed split of the six-megahertz channel into two three-megahertz blocks.” It is simply not possible to split a six-megahertz channel into two three-megahertz blocks if you expect an ATSC receiver to decode either block! Then again, at another point in the document, they do suggest they understand how the channel could be split...)

    6.The Commission is insistent that no station volunteering to share a channel would lose any must-carry rights on cable/satellite. They're also insistent that no new must-carry rights be created.

    - The FCC understands there are serious problems with VHF. They wish to discourage stations from moving from VHF to UHF.

    - To that end, they have determined that VHF reception on indoor antennas is a problem.

    - Both an outside engineering firm and the FCC's own staff measured a variety of available indoor antennas. They found the gain on UHF channels ranged from -6dBd to +21dBd. On VHF-high, only 30% of antennas tested had more than 0dBd of gain; some were as low as -25dBd. They didn't even bother to test these antennas on VHF-low! (many of them were marked on the package as not working on VHF-low.)

    - The FCC considered VHF power increases of up to ten times. (which could allow as much as 1600kw ERP on VHF-high. I believe there may be an existing analog station in Kuwait operating at this kind of power level, but with a VERY directional antenna.)

    - Engineers felt a power increase won't make much difference. They suggest a reduction of spurious emissions from consumer devices is necessary.

    - The FCC said, quote:“While it would be desirable to reduce that noise, the rules limiting spurious emissions from unintentional radiators have been crafted to provide protection of licensed services while allowing production of economically viable devices.”

    - In other words, they're willing to allow consumer electronic devices to interfere with OTA TV reception in order to keep device prices low. (though realistically, imposing new limits on spurious radiation would do nothing about devices already in the field)

    - FCC proposes to increase power anyway. In Zone I, a four-fold power increase would be permitted for VHF stations. (from 10kw maximum to 40kw on VHF-low, from 30kw to 120kw on VHF-high.) No change is proposed from the 45/160kw figures in Zones II and III.

    - There will be no change in interference protection requirements. Which in practice probably means few if any power increases will be possible...

    - They also propose to impose mandatory antenna performance requirements. The All Channel Receiver Act (which required TVs to receive UHF from 1964 on) gives them the authority.

    - Compliance would be required with ANSI/CEA standard 2032-A, “Indoor TV Receiving Antenna Performance Standard”. This establishes a minimum gain of -12dBd for VHF low, -8dBd for all higher channels. Among other things, it also establishes overload susceptibility standards for amplified antennas.


    - Many stations will not be interested in spectrum sharing.

    - Some smaller stations will be interested. For example, I can see Sinclair merging their Milwaukee stations WVTV and WCGV into a single station, comprising two program streams on the RF channel 18 transmitter. Or, Nashville-area stations WJFB (two SD home-shopping streams) and WHTN (two SD religious streams) merging into a single transmitter, transmitting four SD streams on RF channel 44.

    - I can also see this happening in smaller markets. Maybe in Fort Wayne, WISE-TV (RF-18, NBC) merging with WPTA-TV (RF-24, ABC) into a single transmitter, transmitting two HD streams on RF channel 18.

    - The technological attempts to encourage stations to stay on VHF are pointless. Engineers have already indicated power increases won't help. (and those increases are limited to a fraction of the country, and will probably be nearly impossible to implement due to interference concerns)

    - The antenna performance requirements are a very good idea. Unfortunately, they're too late. Millions of viewers have already purchased antennas that simply do not work on VHF.

    - PSIP remapping will ensure any spectrum sharing will be invisible to viewers. (beyond the need to rescan) WHTN and WJFB may both be transmitting on RF channel 44, but they'll continue to be channels 39-1 and 66-1 respectively as far as viewers are concerned.

    - I think we'll hear more about LPTV before this proceeding is complete. I don't think they thought out that paragraph very well.


    Doug Smith W9WI
    Pleasant View, TN EM66

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    AM station granted move to new city

    Ten Sleep, Wyoming: 1140KHz:
    KZMQ granted move from Greybull.
    Coordinates to 44-06-12N/107-28-50W, a move of 59km/37mi. northwest.
    Power to remain 10kw daytime only.

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    AM call changes

    The following AM stations have recently changed callsigns:

    Robertsdale, Alabama 1000 WBZR from WNSI
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama 1280 WMXB from WWPG
    Black Canyon C., Ariz. 710 KBMB from KMIA
    Jackson, California 1340 KVGC new station
    Piedmont, California 1510 KSFN from KPIG
    Riverside, California 1440 KFNY from KDIF
    Santa Barbara, Calif. 1490 KSPE from KIST
    Susanville, California 1490 KLZN new station
    Colorado Springs, Colo. 1580 KREL from KKKK
    Atlantic Beach, Florida 1600 WZNZ from WQOP
    Fort Myers, Florida 1240 WFSX from WINK
    Jacksonville, Florida 1320 WJNJ from WBOB
    Jacksonville, Florida 1460 WQOP from WZNZ
    Milton, Florida 1490 WTKE from WECM
    Pine Island Cen., Fla. 1200 WINK from WPTK
    Riviera Beach, Florida 1600 WHTY from WMNE
    Augusta, Georgia 1230 WEZO from WNRR
    Augusta, Georgia 1340 WYNF from WSGF
    Columbus, Georgia 1580 WIOL from WEAM
    Honolulu, Hawaii 990 KIKI from KHBZ
    Wichita, Kansas 1070 KLIO from KFTI
    Silver Spring, Md. 1050 WBQH from WTOP
    Iron River, Michigan 1230 WFER from WIKB
    Bay St. Louis, Miss. 1190 WMEJ from WJZD
    Billings, Montana 730 KYYA from KURL
    Raleigh, N. Carolina 570 WQDR from WDOX
    Toledo, Ohio 1560 WWYC from WTOD
    Bixby, Oklahoma 1210 KBXO new station
    Ashland, Oregon 580 KTMT from KGAY
    Burns, Oregon 1230 KBNH from KZZR
    Mount Angel, Oregon 1130 KPWX from KTRP
    Portland, Oregon 970 KXFD from KCMD
    Tillamook, Oregon 1590 KTIL from KMBD
    Corry, Pennsylvania 1370 WHYP from WWCB
    Nanticoke, Pennsylvania 730 WZMF from WNAK
    Conway, South Carolina 1050 WHSC from WIQB
    Hartsville, S. Carolina 1450 WTOD from WHSC
    North Augusta, S. Car. 1380 WNRR from WYNF (was briefly WSGF)
    Sioux Falls, S. Dakota 1520 KZOY from KSQB
    Mexia, Texas 1590 KLRK from KRQX
    Vernal, Utah 1400 KRAM new station
    Randolph, Vermont 1320 WCVR from WTSJ
    Claremont, Virginia 670 WRJR from WPMH
    Portsmouth, Virginia 1010 WPMH from WRJR
    Roanoke, Virginia 910 WFJX from WWWR
    Vancouver, Washington 910 KKSN from KTRO
    Park Falls, Wisconsin 980 WPFP from WNBI
    Garapan, Saipan 1440 KKMP new station
    Charlotte Amalie, USVI 1690 WIGT new station

    Tuesday, November 09, 2010

    AM station frequency change denied

    Soda Springs, Idaho: 800KHz:
    KBRV's request to move from 790 dismissed.
    They requested to go from 5,000 watts day/29 watts night to 50,000 watts day/27 watts night.

    The application also included a change in daytime transmitter site to 42-44-39N/112-12-28W, 31 miles due west of the existing site. The nighttime facility would have remained at the existing location.

    Thursday, November 04, 2010

    AM stations: new permit, and request denied

    Wolfforth, Texas: 1560KHz:
    Application for new station dismissed.
    Would have been 5,000 watts day, 235 watts night, directional with two different patterns.
    La Vida Catolica

    Summersville, West Virginia: 1230KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    1,000 watts day & night, non-directional.
    Summit Media Broadcasting

    Tuesday, November 02, 2010

    AM stations deleted

    Farmington, New Mexico: 1280KHz:
    KRZE license cancelled

    Corry, Pennsylvania: 1370KHz:
    WHYP license cancelled

    AM station frequency change requested

    Kalamazoo, Michigan: 1440KHz:
    WKPR requests move from 1420KHz.
    Power to 2,700 watts daytime, 24 watts night, non-directional.
    (was directional day and night, same pattern, 1,000/15 on 1420.)

    New AM station on the air

    Jerome, Idaho: 940KHz:
    New station on the air.
    1,000 watts daytime; 250 watts nighttime;
    directional all hours with two different patterns.

    Permits issued for new AM stations

    Prescott, Arizona: 1240KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    1,000 watts day & night, non-directional.
    Wireless Inc.

    Lemont, Pennsylvania: 1490KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    1,000 watts day; 270 watts night, non-directional.
    Allegheny Mountain Network

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Application for new AM station dismissed

    Greenville, Georgia: 1560KHz:
    Application for new station dismissed.
    Williams Communications' application for a new station here has been dismissed, at the applicant's request.

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    AM station defunct

    Cornwall, Ontario: 1220KHz:
    CJUL deleted
    (so in a matter of weeks, both stations on 1220 in Southern Ontario have been deleted...)
    CJUL has been off the air for some time, but finally got around to surrendering their licence.

    AM station granted frequency change

    Cornwall, New York: 1150KHz:
    WWLE granted frequency change from 1170.
    From daytime only to 2,500 watts daytime, 500 watts nighttime, directional all hours with different patterns day & night.

    New AM station granted

    Alpine, Texas: 1490KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    1,000 watts daytime
    950 watts nighttime
    Non-directional all hours.
    Trade Media Corp.

    Monday, October 04, 2010

    Application for new AM station reinstated

    Reno, Nevada: 1180KHz:
    Application for new station reinstated.
    7,500 watts daytime;
    670 watts nighttime;
    Directional at night only.

    Friday, October 01, 2010

    AM station license cancelled, or maybe not

    Bristol, Connecticut: 1120KHz:
    WPRX license cancelled

    Two commercial FM licenses were also canceled today. I cannot remember the last time I've heard of a commercial FM licensee going out of business permanently. I strongly suspect these are administrative issues -- botched renewals. The stations believe they have valid licenses but the FCC believes they have expired.

    AM DXers advise WPRX is in fact still on the air.

    New AM station granted

    North Las Vegas, Nevada: 1430KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    5,000 watts daytime;
    370 watts nighttime;
    DA-2, directional all hours with different patterns day & night.
    Eastern Sierra Broadcasting

    I REALLY, REALLY want that translator.....

    The FCC has refused to forcibly "un-delete" FM translator W276BX-103.1 Pompton Lakes, New Jersey.

    - On November 18, 2008, the New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority, (NJPBA) licensee of W276BX, asked the FCC to cancel the translator's license.

    - On January 16, 2009, the FCC's staff granted NJPBA's request and canceled W276BX.

    - On February 17, 2009, WGHT-1500, a daytime-only commercial AM station in Pompton Lakes, filed a Petition for Reconsideration, asking the FCC to not cancel the W276BX license. They argued that cancellation is “contrary to the public interest, and harmful to the welfare and safety of the residents of Pompton Lakes."

    The FCC ruled against WGHT's petition, saying:

    “...the Commission has no authority to require any party [e.g., NJPBA] to assume a license and the corresponding duties and responsibilities that inhere in assuming the role of a licensee..."

    To which WGHT filed another petition, arguing among other things: (quoting the FCC, not the station)

    "(1) a party cannot elect to cease being a licensee to the detriment of the public or another licensee, citing Pappamal Wellington Kurian;

    (2) it has standing to seek reconsideration as a “local listener, a local resident, a competitor, or the proposed originating station or assignee of W276BX,” because “WGHT(AM)’s authority to utilize an FM translator, and to provide service at night, will be eliminated if W276BX is not reinstated”;9 and

    (3) the Commission should “exercise its public interest mandate and facilitate such a service whether it believes Mariana has standing . . . or not.”"

    The Commission still isn't buying it. They've dismissed WGHT's second Petition as repetitive. W276BX remains dead, and WGHT remains daytime only...

    Reading between the lines... what I think you can reasonably presume is... that WGHT hoped to purchase W276BX and use it to relay their AM station. The translator could operate at night, even if WGHT itself can't.

    WGHT cannot license a new translator to relay their AM station -- only existing translators may be used to relay AM stations -- and in any case, it could be many years before another translator filing window is opened -- years before any applications for new translators will be accepted. By canceling the W276BX license, WGHT lost their easiest shot at an FM frequency.

    (it would still be possible for them to acquire an existing translator elsewhere and move it to Pompton Lakes. But that would be a lengthy and expensive process.)

    (I wonder, had WGHT already asked NJPBA if they were interested in selling the translator? Seems to me it would have been better for NJPBA's bottom line to sell the unused license to WGHT rather than surrendering it for cancellation. But it's possible they didn't know of WGHT's interest -- and once the license was surrendered, it was too late to get it back..)

    Thursday, September 30, 2010

    Applications for new AM stations dismissed

    Kotzebue, Alaska: 1230 & 1260KHz:
    Application for new station dismissed.
    Voice for Christ Ministries requested dismissal of their application for a new station here. The application originally specified 1230KHz but was later amended to specify 1260.

    Application for new AM station amended

    Star, Idaho: 1020KHz:
    Application for new station amended.
    Proposed daytime power reduced from 50,000 watts to 10,000;
    Tower site changed to 43-43-01N/116-34-04W.

    Star is just outside Boise.

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    FCC proposes drop-dead date for analog LPTV

    The FCC has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Memorandum Opinion and Order on the digital transition of LPTV stations.

    The main points:

  • Is an analog shutdown date in 2012 reasonable for LPTV stations?
    (they don't say *when* in 2012)
    On the selected date, analog LPTV licenses would be terminated and analog construction
    permits would need to be modified to specify digital operation.

  • There is an oblique reference to a suggestion the power levels authorized to VHF LP-DTV stations might be increased...

  • More specifically, is it reasonable to expect LPTVs operating above channel 51 to move below by the end of next year?
    (They propose to require all LPTVs operating above 51 to submit an application to move below by June 30, 2011, and complete the move within the subsequent six months.)

  • Effective last Friday, a freeze has been instituted on the filing of applications for new analog LPTV and translators, and for new or modified LPTV stations (digital or analog) above channel 51. (I thought analog applications were already frozen...)

  • The Commission proposes to establish a "30-mile rule" for minor changes to LPTV stations. A transmitter site move that would end up more than 30 miles from the reference coordinates of the station's existing community would be considered a "major" change -- presumably only permissible during a filing window, and subject to auction in case of conflict with other applications.

    Under the existing rules, a change is "minor" if there is any coverage overlap whatsoever between the existing and proposed new facilities.

  • Comments on the NPRM are due in a bit over 60 days.

    Friday, September 17, 2010

    AM station granted move to new city

    Fort Smith, Arkansas: 1450KHz:
    KENA granted move from Mena, Arkansas
    Will remain 1,000 watts day & night, non-directional.
    However, KENA will move to the KFPW-1230 tower at 35-23-30N/94-19-54W.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    AM station major change request amended

    University City, Missouri: 1530KHz:
    WQQW amends application to move from 1510.

    WQQW-1510 Highland, Illinois had applied to move to 1530 at Belleville, Illinois and move the towers to 38-44-43N/90-03-38W. This change would supercede a permit to increase power to 5kw at the existing site and with the city of license remaining Highland.

    This application has been amended. The city has been changed to University City, Missouri; and the north latitude to 38-42-43/90-03-38. Given that the west longitude hasn't changed, I suspect the old 38-44-43 latitude figure was a typo.

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    AM station deleted

    Hanover, New Hampshire: 1340KHz:
    WDCR deleted at request of licensee.

    The unique station had been operated as a commercial enterprise by students at Dartmouth College.

    In October 2008, Pavel Sotskov, the station's General Manager, said "An evaluation of the costs of maintaining the AM transmitter and a recognition that Dartmouth students listen to their student-DJ friends' WDCR broadcasts online led us to choose to make this change,"

    WDCR will continue as an Internet-only station. Dartmouth will also continue to operate their more traditionally-formatted commercial FM station, WFRD 99.3.

    Thursday, September 09, 2010

    Auctions to be held for new VHF TV channels in NJ and DE

    The FCC today announced that permits would be auctioned for two new commercial digital TV construction permits. One will be at Seaford, Delaware on channel 5; the other at Atlantic City, New Jersey on channel 4.

    The Commission is seeking comments on details of the methodology of the auction. This is not your typical rural farm auction, where the auctioneer shouts out a price a bit higher than the last bid & if nobody is willing to pay it, the auction ends. To be honest, I don't understand most of what they're talking about in this document

    As you may remember, this auction was triggered by PMCM's petition to move stations from Wyoming and Nevada to northern New Jersey (the station would transmit from New York City on channel 3) and to Wilmington, Delaware. (the station would transmit from Philadelphia on channel 2) PMCM argues that an Act of Congress requires the FCC to grant the moves.

    The Commission disagrees that it's required to allow the PMCM stations to move, but agrees that the Act requires VHF channels be allotted in every state. Delaware and New Jersey are the only states lacking such channels.

    Friday, September 03, 2010

    Permits issued for new AM stations

    Kihei, Hawaii: 740KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    5,000 watts day & night, non-directional.

    Merrill, Oregon: 1240KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    1,000 watts day & night, non-directional.

    Both stations are licensed to IHR Educational Broadcasting, a Catholic religious organization.

    Thursday, September 02, 2010

    New AM station applications

    Prescott, Arizona: 1240KHz:
    Application filed for new station.
    1,000 watts day & night, non-directional.
    Wireless, Inc.

    Summersville, West Virginia: 1230KHz:
    Application filed for new station.
    1,000 watts day & night, non-directional.
    Summit Media Broadcasting

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Application for new AM station

    On July 29th, I reported the rights to AM 640 in Terre Haute, Indiana were awarded to Birach Broadcasting after they bid $53,000.

    Winning the auction earned Birach the right to apply for the channel - they have now done so. They've requested 250 watts day & night, directional at night only. Tower coordinates are 39-29-21N/87-25-08W.

    Assuming these parameters would not cause interference to any other station, this application will almost certainly be granted. (I'm pretty sure these are the same facilities as the old WBOW-640 - the revocation of whose license opened up 640 for auction - so this is likely to be technically acceptable.)

    There has been some speculation on to the effect that Birach might not actually plan to build a station at Terre Haute. They already own another station on 640, WMFN in Zeeland, Michigan. The 640 assignment at Terre Haute limits the ability of WMFN to expand coverage. By taking out the Terre Haute permit -- and then surrendering it -- they may be able to improve WMFN's coverage.

    It's too early to tell if that's in fact what is planned...

    Monday, August 23, 2010

    AM station defunct

    Oil City, Pennsylvania: 1340KHz:
    WOYL license canceled at request of licensee.

    New AM stations granted

    Santa Maria, California: 1360KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    2,000 watts day & night.
    Directional all hours, different patterns.
    Ether Mining Corp.
    Mesquite, Nevada: 1250KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    5,000 watts day
    480 watts night
    Directional all hours, different patterns.
    Americast Media Corp.
    Flora Vista, New Mexico: 1450KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    250 watts day & night, non-directional.
    IHR Educational Broadcasting
    Green River, Utah: 1240KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    250 watts day & night, non-directional.
    Better Life Ministries

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    Wednesday, August 04, 2010

    WWVA-1170 off

    WWVA-1170 Wheeling, West Virginia is off the air after all three towers were knocked down by a storm.

    Monday, August 02, 2010

    Canadian AM station going away

    Grande Cache, Alberta: 1230KHz:
    CFXG to be replaced by FM station.
    CFXE-FM has applied for an FM relayer in Grande Cache, on 93.3 with 190 watts. It will replace AM relayer CFXG-1230.

    Friday, July 30, 2010

    Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook comes to an end...

    The Broadcasting and Cable Yearbook (formerly simply the Broadcasting Yearbook) has published its last edition.

    Radio Business Report reports this long-running broadcasting reference will no longer be published.

    One might guess the plethora of free websites full of broadcasting information (often more accurate than that in the Yearbook!) makes it impossible for a $395 printed reference to compete...

    Canadian station gone -- for good

    St. Catharines, Ontario: 1220KHz:
    CHSC licence to expire in 31 days.

    In Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2010-533, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission decided not to renew the licence of CHSC-1220 St. Catharines.

    In the Commission's conclusion, they wrote:

    Pellpropco has shown a history of repeated non-compliance and disregard for its regulatory obligations since acquiring CHSC in 2002. The Commission considers that, under the same circumstances of being denied a licence amendment due to non-compliance and of being called to a mandatory hearing mid-licence, a responsible licensee would have understood the seriousness of its situation and the Commission’s warnings at that time, seized the opportunity to rectify the situation and taken all necessary steps to do so as quickly as possible. However, Pellpropco has taken the opposite course of action, committing repeated and further acts of non-compliance and taking steps to bring itself into compliance only after intervention by Commission staff and at the outset of the public hearing itself. In fact, the licensee’s explanations for non-compliance, steps toward compliance and proposed remedies seem to have been made in haste, leaving the Commission unconvinced as to the seriousness with which the licensee takes its regulatory obligations, as well as its ability and willingness to bring the station into compliance.

    Some of the violations cited include:

  • Inadequate news coverage, at least in English. (see below)

  • Failure to file required paperwork.

  • Failure to assist in development of Canadian content, as required by regulations.

  • No operational studio in St. Catharines.

  • Too much concentration on Italian-language programming to a Toronto audience, instead of programming to St. Catharines as required.

  • The CHSC licence expires at the end of August. Presumably the station will go away on that date. In the States I would expect this to be appealed to the bitter end, but from what I'm hearing, in Canada this may be final.

    Thursday, July 29, 2010

    Broadcast auction winners announced

    Back in February, the FCC announced an auction of broadcast permits. Thirteen FM permits, two FM translator permits, and three AM permits were to be on the block.

    One AM winner, one FM translator winner, and eleven FM winners have been announced:

    AM 640 Terre Haute, Indiana: Birach Broadcasting Corp. $ 53,000
    FM 101.5 Greenwood, Arkansas: JEM Broadcasting Co. $165,750
    FM 105.3 Durango, Colorado: KRJ Co. $ 15,000
    FM 98.9 Steamboat Springs, Colorado: Ramsey Leasing $ 55,000
    FM 101.1 Bloomfield, Indiana: Mid-America Radio Group $ 22,000
    FM 104.5 Traverse City, Michigan: The MacDonald Bcstg. Co. $224,000
    FM 98.9 Rosendale, New York: Hawkeye Communications $324,350
    FM 93.7 North Madison, Ohio: South Shore Broadcasting $276,250
    FM 98.1 Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico: Amor Radio Group Corp. $ 16,250
    FM 107.7 Idalou, Texas: Ramar Communications $ 75,000
    FM 102.5 Shawsville, Virginia: George S. Flinn Jr.* $153,000
    FM 98.9 Two Rivers, Wisconsin: Tri-County Radio $ 31,850

    (FM translator:)
    FM 104.1 Coyote, California: Educational Media Fdn. $ 31,000

    * Mr. Flinn is a Republican candidate for the U.S. House from West Tennessee. One of his primary opponents has used the format of one of his existing stations as a campaign issue.

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010

    Broadcast station totals

    The FCC has released broadcast station totals for the end of March and the end of June. Just for grins, I've also tossed in the figures for January, 1970...

    1/70 12/09 3/10 6/10
    AM 4269 4790 4790 4786
    FM commercial 2083 6479 6483 6494
    FM educational 399 3151 3180 3223
    Total full-power radio 6751 14420 14453 14503

    FM translators & boosters n/g 6155 6169 6168
    LPFM n/a 864 865 864
    Total low-power radio n/g 7019 7034 7032

    Commercial TV 691 1391 1393 1393
    Educational TV 184 390 390 391
    Total full-power TV 875 1782 1783 1784

    TV translators n/g 4359 4451 4562
    LPTV n/a 2386 2411 2451
    Class A TV n/a 537 534 523

    Total low-power TV n/g 7282 7396 7536

    Total broadcast stations 7626 30503 30666 30855

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010

    AM station technical changes denied & license cancelled

    Kaufman, Texas: 950KHz:
    KTON application to move from 940 dismissed & station deleted.
    Station wished to reduce daytime power from 1,000 watts to 600;
    increase nighttime power from 5 watts to 100;
    change frequency from 940 to 950;
    change city from Belton to Kaufman;
    move transmitter site from 31-32-07N/97-24-46W to 32-52-35N/96-18-37W.

    Belton, the old site, is roughly midway between Waco and Austin in Central Texas.

    Kaufman, the proposed new site, is roughly 25 miles east-southeast of Dallas.

    Not only has the proposed move been dismissed, but the KTON license has been canceled. I think the station remained off the air for over a year.

    Thursday, July 22, 2010

    AM station power reduction requested

    St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador: 930KHz:
    CJYQ requests technical changes.
    Due to weather damage at the existing site, CJYQ proposes to move to a new site and switch to non-directional operation at night with 3.5kw.
    Daytime operation will remain non-directional with 25kw.

    Major AM station change dismissed

    Arden-Arcade, California: 1210KHz:
    KEBR changes dismissed.
    Station proposed to:
    - Change the city-of-license from Rocklin.
    - Eliminate the separate nighttime transmitter site.
    - Operate from the existing daytime site at night as well, 38-27-46N/121-07-49W.
    - Switch from non-directional to directional operation at night.
    - Increase nighttime power to 1.5kw.

    Wednesday, July 07, 2010

    AM station frequency change (re-)requested

    Cornwall, New York: 1150KHz:
    WWLE-1170 requests move to this frequency.

    WWLE operates on 1170 with 800 watts daytime-only, directional.

    They've requested to move to 1150 with 2,500 watts daytime, 500 watts night, directional with two different patterns. The 1150 operation will be at their existing site.

    The same move was requested (and granted) in 2004 but the permit was recently canceled.

    Application for new AM stations dismissed

    Merlin, Oregon: 1320 & 1520KHz:
    Applications for new stations dismissed.

    1320: 1,000 watts day & night, directional, different patterns day & night.
    1520: 5,000 watts daytime; 4,000 watts night; directional at night only.

    Both frequencies were to operate from 42-28-08N/123-19-43W.

    Merlin is in western Oregon, between Eugene and Roseburg.

    AM call changes

    The following AM stations have changed callsigns recently:

    Tuscaloosa, Alabama 1280 WMXB from WWPG
    Atlantic Beach, Florida 1600 WZNZ from WQOP
    Jacksonville, Florida 1460 WQOP from WZNZ
    Riviera Beach, Florida 1600 WHTY from WMNE
    Columbus, Georgia 1580 WIOL from WEAM
    Wichita, Kansas 1070 KLIO from KFTI
    Iron River, Michigan 1230 WFER from WIKB
    Bay St. Louis, Miss. 1190 WMEJ from WJZD
    Raleigh, N. Carolina 570 WQDR from WDOX
    Burns, Oregon 1230 KBNH from KZZR
    Portland, Oregon 970 KXFD from KCMD
    Tillamook, Oregon 1590 KTIL from KMBD
    Sioux Falls, S. Dakota 1520 KZOY from KSQB
    Vancouver, Washington 910 KKSN from KTRO
    Park Falls, Wisconsin 980 WPFP from WNBI

    Rare AM public station to go away...

    The FCC Daily Digest today reported Ohio State University has purchased commercial station WWCD-101.1 in Columbus.

    OSU (uh, THE OSU) already owns two public radio stations in Columbus, WOSU-820 and WOSU-FM 89.7. Radio World magazine reports the AM station's NPR news/talk format will move to 89.7; 89.7's classical music programming will move to the new 101.1 frequency; and the AM 820 frequency will be sold.

    Unlike most public stations, WOSU AM 820 is on "non-reserved" spectrum. The existing license only allows non-commercial operation, but it can be modified to allow commercial broadcasting. The 87.9-91.9 FM spectrum is "reserved" for non-commercial use. For example, WOSU-FM 89.7 could be sold, but the new users could not convert to commercial operation.

    WOSU AM is one of a vanishing breed of AM stations launched by the nation's major universities in the early days of broadcasting. The station got its start as WEAO, on 360 meters. (830KHz) It shared time on 570 with commercial station WKBN in Youngstown for awhile, before landing on 820 at the beginning of World War II.

    In 1925, 44 major state universities controlled AM stations. (so did dozens of smaller schools, private and religious institutions, city school systems, municipalities, and even the state governments of Wisconsin and Missouri.) Today, only nine - soon to be eight - remain.

    For the record, the nine:

    - Washington State (KWSU-1250)
    - Purdue (WBAA-920)
    - Ohio State (WOSU-820)
    - Wisconsin (WHA-970)
    - Michigan State (WKAR-870)
    - Minnesota (KUOM-770)
    - Iowa State (WOI-640)
    - Illinois (WILL-580)
    - Iowa (WSUI-910)

    Yes, there are other NPR stations on AM. The vast majority are relatively recent converts.

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    New AM stations granted

    Bakersfield, California: 1310KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    1,400 watts daytime
    2,500 watts nighttime
    Directional, different patterns day & night.

    Porterville, California: 1330KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    1,500 watts daytime
    500 watts nighttime
    Directional, different patterns day & night.

    Tuesday, June 08, 2010

    Big Canadian stations gone -- for good

    The 690 and 940 stations in Montreal have surrendered their licences for cancellation. See
    the official announcement on the CRTC website...

    Monday, June 07, 2010

    AM station moved

    Lumberton, Texas: 1300KHz:
    KSET moved from Silsbee, Texas.
    Daytime power increased from 500 watts to 2,000.
    Adds nighttime power of 270 watts.
    Directional day & night, different patterns.

    AM station gone

    Belton, Texas: 940KHz:
    KTON deleted.
    Reportedly it remained off the air for more than a year while trying to arrange a move.

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    AM stations: gone, and not...

    Mt. Carmel, Illinois: 1360KHz:
    WVMC at least temporarily not deleted.

    This blog recently reported WVMC's license was canceled at the request of the licensee.

    There are now allegations the person who got the license canceled was not authorized to do so...

    See the May 23rd issue of Indiana RadioWatch.

    See also this letter, and this request for Special Temporary Authority to remain on the air, and this response from the FCC.

    Eastland, Texas; 1590KHz:
    KEAS license canceled at request of licensee.

    (best I can tell this one is for real)

    New AM station

    La Grande, Oregon: 1030KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    1,000 watts daytime
    600 watts nighttime
    directional at night only.

    Located in Northeastern Oregon, not too far west of Boise, Idaho.

    Friday, May 21, 2010

    Unusual antenna proposed in Toronto

    CHHA-1610 Toronto has proposed a novel (for broadcasters) new directional antenna.

    The station has been operating at 10,000 watts daytime/1,000 watts nighttime, non-directonal, using a 22.5m Valcom loaded whip antenna in downtown Toronto. Due to unexpectedly good DX conditions (excessive skywave..) CJWI Montreal, on the same frequency, has suffered interference. Industry Canada asked the station to temporarily reduce nighttime power to 250 watts - which addressed the interference but left CHHA unable to reach much of their northwest Toronto audience.

    CHHA proposes a directional antenna, with a null protecting CJWI. They'll operate at a power of 6,250 watts day and night, using the directional antenna at all hours with the same pattern. At a traditional AM station, this would be accomplished by erecting two towers.

    CHHA proposes to do it with only one tower -- and a "Hot Guy Wire".

    The single tower will be roughly 50m high. The guy wire facing due east will be insulated from the tower, at the top, by an insulator similar to that used on high-voltage AC power lines. Another insulator will "break up" the guy wire, electrically, about 25% down from the top of the guy wire. A third insulator, an 8-inch ceramic "egg", will be used at the base of the wire. A 4.1uH inductor will be installed between the bottom of the guy wire and an earth ground.

    The "floating" guy wire will serve as a second, reflecting element to the antenna system. It will "deflect" much of the power that would otherwise be radiated towards Montreal, and direct it instead to the north and south. (right into the Toronto neighborhood the station wishes to reach)

    AM station frequency change granted

    Pensacola, Florida: 780KHz:
    WPNN granted move from 790KHz.
    Power will increase to 3,000 watts daytime only, directional.
    Site to 30-31-05N/87-04-55W, roughly 15mi. ENE of the old site.

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    AM station move dismissed

    Vega, Texas: 1600KHz:
    KSHG denied permission to move from Dalhart.

    New AM station application amended

    Santa Maria, California: 1330KHz:
    Application amended to specify 1360KHz.
    Power changed to 2,000 watts day & night.
    Added directional antenna, different patterns day & night.
    And site moved to 34-58-52N/120-22-37W.

    New AM stations granted

    Mesilla, New Mexico: 670KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    1,250 watts daytime, directional
    250 watts nighttime, directional, different pattern
    Site adjoins Las Cruces.

    Bixby, Oklahoma: 1210KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    7,500 watts daytime, directional
    250 watts nighttime, directional, different pattern
    7,200 watts critical hours*, directional, yet another pattern
    Site is on southeast side of Tulsa.

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    AM station gone

    Mount Carmel, Illinois: 1360KHz:
    WVMC license surrendered for cancellation.

    AM call changes

    The following AM stations have changed callsigns recently:

    Robertsdale, Ala. 1000 WBZR from WNSI
    Fresno, California 940 KYNO from KWRU
    Fresno, California 1300 KWRU from KYNO
    Apopka, Florida 1520 WBZW from WHIM
    Coral Gables, Fla. 1080 WHIM from WMCU
    Jacksonville, Fla. 1320 WJNJ from WBOB
    Augusta, Ga. 1230 WEZO from WNRR
    Springhill, La. 1460 KTKC from KBSF
    Kentwood, Michigan 1140 WVHF from WJNZ
    Ontario, New York 1330 WDRE from WMJQ
    Toledo, Ohio 1560 WWYC from WTOD
    Milford, Penna. 1450 WMJQ from WDRE
    Nanticoke, Penna. 730 WZMF from WNAK*
    Conway, S.C. 1050 WHSC from WIQB
    Hartsville, S.C. 1450 WTOD from WHSC
    Roanoke, Virginia 910 WFJX from WWWR
    Charleston, W. Va. 950 WBES from WVTS
    Charleston, W. Va. 1240 WVTS from WBES

    * The WZMF call always gets my attention... Growing up, the WZMF tower was about a half-mile from my house, beaconing away with its red tower warning light. (and 3,000 watts of underground rock music)

    The suburban house that held the station is still there. But all it holds are a bunch of two-way base stations, and backups for what ceased to be WZMF 98.3 some 30 years ago, and its sister station on 106.9.

    To my knowledge those calls have made another stop, somewhere in Illinois, on the way from suburban Milwaukee to an AM station in Pennsylvania.

    New AM stations granted

    Middleton, Idaho: 1400KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    1,000 watts day & night, non-directional.

    Site is just north of Caldwell and a few miles west of Boise.
    Santa Clara, Utah: 1290KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    2,000 watts daytime
    250 watts nighttime
    Directional, different patterns day & night.

    Site is a few miles northwest of St. George in southwest Utah.

    AM station frequency/location change requested

    Apache Junction, Arizona: 1260KHz:
    KBSZ requests move from 1250 at Wickenburg.
    Power to 3,500 watts daytime; 50 watts nighttime, non-directional.

    Saturday, May 15, 2010

    Nashville flood & radio

    The recent flooding in Nashville affected a number of radio stations. At the height of the disaster, these were some of the stations off the air:

    790 WQSV
    810 WMGC
    980 WYFN
    1160 WCRT
    1300 WNQM
    1470 WVOL
    1510 WLAC (for just a few minutes, probably power outage)
    1550 WQZQ (Clarksville)

    At this writing, all are back except WYFN and WQZQ.

    Here's a video showing the effects of the Nashville flood on WYFN. I expect it will be some time before this station is back on the air! The video doesn't show the condition of the towers. (if they've been damaged it will take even longer)

    WYFN and WQZQ are located on the Cumberland River. WQZQ probably suffered similar damage. They already have a permit to move from 1550 to 830, change the city of license to Goodlettsville, and use one of the WPLN-1430 towers. I strongly suspect the Clarksville 1550 facility will not be rebuilt.

    While WSM-650's transmission facility was not damaged, their studios in the Opryland Hotel were flooded. WSM is currently using studios at the transmitter. This is likely to continue for some time.

    Tuesday, May 04, 2010

    Friday, April 23, 2010

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    New AM station granted

    Providence, Utah: 1090KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    5,000 watts daytime, non-directional.
    250 watts nighttime, directional.
    Providence is just south of Provo.

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Application for new AM station dismissed

    Raymond, Maine: 650KHz:
    Application for new station dismissed.
    (Steven Wendell)

    AM station granted move to new city

    Lawrenceville, Georgia: 1210KHz:
    WDGR granted permission to move from Dahlonega.
    Power to increase to 20,000 watts daytime; 12,000 watts critical hours; one watt at night...
    Directional day & critical hours, different patterns; non-directional at night. This is "U11" in the NRC AM Radio Log.

    Towers to move to 33-57-26N/84-00-23W, which is a move of 64km (40 miles) precisely due south. I mean, right down to the second -- the Dahlonega facility was at 34-31-45N/84-00-23W.

    Monday, April 19, 2010

    AM new-station application amended

    Keeau, Hawaii; 1250KHz:
    Application for new station amended to specify new frequency.
    Changed from 1240KHz to 1250.
    Power from 1,000 watts day & night to 5,000 day & 1,500 night.
    Site also changed, but station will remain non-directional day & night.

    Thursday, April 08, 2010

    AM station moved

    West Allis, Wisconsin: 1460KHz:
    WJTI moved from Racine.
    Power from 500 watts daytime/62 night, non-directional to 1,000 daytime/240 night, directional, different patterns day & night. Upgrades from Class D to Class B.

    Shares towers with WGLB-1560 Elm Grove, site located on the west side of West Allis. You can see it (if you look carefully...) on the east side of I-894. (just south of National Ave., if I remember properly)

    This is not West Allis' first station. Older Milwaukeeans may remember WAWA-1590, which broadcast from just north of Bluemound Rd. near 124th St., with an African-American-oriented format.

    Friday, March 26, 2010

    AM call changes

    The following AM stations have changed calls recently:

    Birmingham, Alabama 690 WJOX from WSPZ
    Dothan, Alabama 700 WCNF from WEEL
    Pike Road, Alabama 1210 WTXK from WQLS
    Cathedral City, Calif. 1340 KWXY from KPTR
    Palm Springs, Calif. 1450 KPTR from KWXY
    Twin Falls, Idaho 1270 KPDA from KTFI
    New Castle, Indiana 1550 WLTI from WMDH
    Boone, Iowa 1260 KTIA from KFFF
    Silver Spring, Md. 1050 WTOP from WZAA
    Everett, Massachusetts 1430 WKOX from WXKS
    Newton, Massachusetts 1200 WXKS from WKOX
    Syracuse, New York 1260 WSKO from WNSS
    Raleigh, North Carolina 850 WKIX from WRBZ
    Shelby, North Carolina 1390 WOHS from WADA
    Cincinnati, Ohio 1480 WDJO from WCIN
    Huntingdon, Penna. 1150 WLLI from WHUN
    Sioux Falls, S. Dakota 1520 KZOY from KSQB
    Cookeville, Tennessee 780 WPTN from WHUB
    Cookeville, Tennessee 1400 WHUB from WPTN
    Humboldt, Tennessee 1190 WHUN from WLLI
    Spring City, Tennessee 970 WRHA from WXQK

    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    New AM station granted

    Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands: 1690KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    920 watts day & night, non-directional.
    18-18-57N, 64-53-02W.

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010

    New AM station on the air

    South Boston, Virginia: 1400KHz:
    New station WAJL on the air.
    1,000 watts non-directional day & night.

    South Boston is about 40km east of Danville in southern Virginia.
    WAJL has a Facebook page with some studio & transmitter shots. According to this page, the format is Southern Gospel.

    Thursday, February 25, 2010

    AM stations moving in together.....

    Sparta, Tennessee: 860KHz:
    WTZX requests move to new site,
    power from 1,000 watts daytime, 10 watts nighttime,
    to 950 watts daytime, 11 watts nighttime.
    And move ~3mi. northwest, to 35-57-16N/85-28-37W.

    Sparta, Tennessee: 1050KHz:
    WSMT requests move to new site,
    power from 1,000 watts daytime, 181 watts nighttime,
    to 950 watts daytime, 178 watts nighttime.
    And move very slightly NE to 35-57-16N/85-28-37W.
    (I'll bet that figure is familiar)

    These formerly-unrelated stations have become commonly-owned and wish to move in together...

    AM station frequency changes requested

    Pensacola, Florida: 780KHz:
    WPNN requests frequency change from 790.
    Power from 1,000 watts daytime, 66 watts night, non-directional
    to 3,000 watts daytime only, directional
    Site to 30-31-05N/87-04-56W, very roughly 15mi. ENE of old site.

    Isleta, New Mexico: 1510KHz:
    KABR requests frequency change from 1500 and move from Alamo Community.
    Power from 1,000 watts daytime only
    to 5,000 watts daytime, 25 watts night, 4,200 watts critical hours*
    Site is just south of Albuquerque.

    * "Critical Hours" are the two hours right after sunrise, and the two hours right before sunset.

    Wednesday, February 24, 2010

    New AM stations granted

    Easton, California: 1150KHz:
    Permit issued for new station.
    260 watts daytime, non-directional, 36-46-10N/119-45-01W
    5,000 watts nighttime, directional, 36-51-18N/119-38-00W
    (yes, different sites day and night)
    Site is on the east side of Fresno.

    Billings, Montana: 1600KHz:
    Permit issued for new station.
    5,000 watts daytime
    1,250 watts nighttime
    directional at night only.

    Captain Cook, Hawaii: 1150KHz:
    Application for new station dismissed, then promptly reinstated.
    5,000 watts day and night, non-directional
    Captain Cook is on the western shore of the Big Island.

    Tuesday, February 23, 2010

    AM technical changes - requested & on the air

    Golden, Colorado: 1550KHz:
    Modification of application for new station.
    Applicant requests to change from 5,000 watts daytime/250 watts night, directional night only, to 1,000 watts daytime/270 watts night, non-directional all hours.

    Fairview Heights, Illinois: 1190KHz:
    KQQZ requests an increase in night power
    from 22 watts to 1,000 watts directional. Daytime power to remain 10,000 watts directional. (different patterns)

    Application will also change the city of license from DeSoto, Missouri.

    It supercedes an existing permit to change the city to University City, Missouri and increase the night power to 6,500 watts directional.

    Waynesburg, Pennsylvania: 1210KHz:
    WANB has changed frequency from 1580KHz.
    Power increases from 720 watts to 5,000, daytime only, non-directional.
    However, WANB is required to reduce power to 710 watts during "critical hours" -- for two hours after signing on the air at sunrise, and for two hours before signing off the air at sunset.

    New AM stations - and not

    Chanhassen, Minnesota: 1200KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    1,300 watts daytime
    1,000 watts nighttime
    Directional at night only.
    Chanhassen is a suburb southwest of Minneapolis.

    Yelm, Washington: 1120KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    10,000 watts daytime
    6,000 watts nighttime
    Directional day and night with the same pattern.
    Yelm is roughly 20 miles south of Tacoma and roughly 20 miles east-southeast of Olympia.

    Taylor, Alabama: 1400KHz:
    Application dismissed for new station.

    Tuesday, February 16, 2010

    FCC closed for severe storm

    Because of the huge East Coast snowstorm, the FCC closed early on Friday, February 5th, and remained closed until the next Friday, Feb. 12th. Monday, February 15th was a federal holiday. For some reason, while the Commission was open today, Tuesday, February 16th, there was no Broadcast Applications Public Notice, nor was there a Broadcast Actions.

    (I fear we're going to have some MONSTER notices when they finally break the weather jam...)

    AM transmitters for sale

    Yes, on eBay.
    This one too.
    (identical models, different cabinet styles)
    I believe the first one was the last transmitter at WMAQ-670. (now WSCR)

    Minimum bid, $9,000. Get out your checkbook...

    Thursday, February 04, 2010

    FCC announces July broadcast auction

    FCC to hold broadcast auction

    The FCC today announced an auction will be held in July to award 13 FM
    permits, two FM translators, and three AM stations.

    The FM permits:

    Location:FrequencyApplicantsMinimum opening bid
    Greenwood, Ark.101.5AGeorge S. Flinn, Jr.; Ramsey Leasing, Inc.; Jem Broadcasting Co., Inc.$60,000
    Durango, Colo.105.3AEB Needles LLC; Four Corners Broadcasting LLC; Arkansas Valley Broadcasting LLC; KRJ Co.; Steven Dinetz; Rocky Mountain Radio Co. LLC; Lancer Media; Robert Durango LLC$20,000
    Steamboat Springs, Colo.98.9AYampa Valley Broadcasting Inc.; George S. Flinn Jr.; EB Needles LLC; Harry Media; Colo. Alpine Broadcasting Co.; Boat of Steam Broadcasting; Rocky Mountain Radio Co. LLC; Ramsey Leasing Inc.$7,500
    Bloomfield, Ind.101.1ARobert M. McDaniel; Sarkes Tarzian Inc.; Mid-America Radio Group Inc.; Music Ministries Inc.; Willtronics Broadcasting Co.; William S. Poorman$20,000
    Traverse City, Mich.104.5ACentral Michigan University; Good News Media Inc.; Salija Bokram/Michael J. St. Cyr; The MacDonald Broadcasting Co.; WTCM Radio Inc.$45,000
    Oxford, Miss.105.1ADarby Radio Enterprises; Southern Cultural Foundation; Oxford Radio Inc.; George S. Flinn Jr.$20,000
    Rosendale, N.Y.102.5ARosen Broadcasting Inc.; Sacred Heart University, Inc.; Marist College; Eric P. Straus; Radio Rosendale; David Fleisher & Melissa Krantz; Hawkeye Communications Inc.; Aritaur Communications, Inc.$100,000
    North Madison, Ohio93.7AMusic Express Broadcasting Inc.; South Shore Broadcasting Inc.$75,000
    Santa Isabel, P.R.98.1AS.I. Broadcasting; La Capra Corp.; Peace Broadcasting Network; Amor Radio Group Corp.$100,000
    Idalou, Tex.107.7AAlbert Benavides; George S. Flinn, Jr.; MTD, Inc.; Directel Inc.; Ramar Communications Inc.; Big Sky Company; Metro Broadcasters-Texas Inc.; Ramsey Leasing Inc.$75,000
    Shawsville, Va.102.5APositive Alternative Radio, Inc.; George S. Flinn, Jr.; Poor Mountain Broadcasting; Grace Communications L.C.$75,000
    New Holstein, Wis.92.9AEvandel Ministries Inc.; Michael R. Walton Jr.; KM Communications Inc. ; Metro North Communications Inc.$25,000
    Two Rivers, Wis.98.9ATri-County Radio, Incorporated; Michael R Walton Jr.; Evangel Ministries, Incorporated; BBK Broadcasting$35,000

    The FM translator permits:

    Location:FrequencyApplicantsMinimum opening bid
    Coyote, Calif.104.1Educational Media Foundation; Coyote Communications Inc.$15,000
    Manahawkin/Warren Grove, N.J.102.5CTS Communications Development Corp.; Penn-Jersey Educational Radio Corp.$500

    The AM permits:

    Location:FrequencyApplicantsMinimum opening bid
    Terre Haute/ West Terre Haute/ Shelburn, Ind.640Contemporary Media Inc.; Fort Bend Broadcasting Company Inc.; Powell Meredith Communications Company; KM Communications, Inc.; Bott Broadcasting Company; Word Power, Inc.; Birach Broadcasting Corporation$50,000
    Terre Haute/ West Terre Haute/ Shelburn, Ind.1230Fort Bend Broadcasting Company Inc.; Contemporary Media Inc.; Powell Meredith Communications Company; KM Communications, Inc.; Bott Broadcasting Company; Word Power, Inc.$50,000
    Lansing/South Hill, N.Y.750Romar Communications Inc.; KM Communications Inc.$75,000

    Wednesday, February 03, 2010

    South Carolina station being patriotic!

    AM DXers are reporting WBSC-1550 (Bennettsville, South Carolina) is continuously looping the Star-Spangled Banner, interspersed with occasional station identification announcements.

    FCC establishes licensing preference for Native Americans (and other changes)

    From FCC-10-24A1:

    The FCC today adopted a number of changes in their treatment of applications for new radio stations. The most dramatic changes involve an attempt to promote the construction of tribally-owned stations in Native American areas. However, some other changes were also made. A Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was also issued, calling for further inquiry into two questions.


    A. Establish a preference for Native American groups for stations serving tribal lands.

    A Tribal Priority will be issued if:
    - The applicant is a federally-recognized Tribe; a consortium of several Tribes; or an organization 51% or more controlled by one or more Tribes, [0] and:
    - At least 50% of the city-grade coverage area of the station (daytime only, for AM stations) would cover tribal lands, and:
    - The station would provide first or second radio service to a non-negligible population, or would be the first station licensed to a community on tribal lands.

    (“Tribal lands” are defined as “Indian Reservations” and areas adjacent to reservations which have been designated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs as appropriate for the extension of Native American social services.)

    For AM applications:
    An application with Tribal Priority will have precedence over non-tribal applicants unless a non-tribal applicant proposes to cover an area that would not be served by the tribal applicant and is not served by any other station. (the FCC will not allow Tribal Priority to deny an area any radio service)

    Once a license is awarded through Tribal Priority, the station must operate[1] for at least four years with an ownership that is at least 70% tribally-controlled. For this period, the community of license may not be changed, and no technical changes could be made which would cause more than half of the principal-community (“city-grade”) coverage area to fall off tribal lands.

    For commercial FM applications:
    A proposal to allot a channel to a community on tribal lands would take priority over a proposal to allot a channel on non-tribal lands. For example, if the Menomonee Tribe proposed to allot 92.3A to Keshena, Wisconsin on their reservation, while Cumulus proposed to allot the same channel to off-reservation Shawano, seven miles away, the channel would go to Keshena.

    Any applicant, whether qualified for a Tribal Priority or not, could file for a permit to use the channel. (while the Menomonee Tribe may succeed in getting the channel allotted to Keshena, Cumulus could well end up receiving the permit to use the channel.) Any station thus awarded would be prohibited from changing its city-of-license for four years,[1] and would be prohibited from making technical changes that would cause more than half of the principal-community coverage to fall off tribal lands.

    For non-commercial FM applications:
    Tribal Priority would trump all other applications except those which propose to provide the first radio service to a population that would not be served by the tribal station.

    The holding requirements would be the same as for AM – the station must operate[1] for at least four years under at least 70% tribal control; the community of license must not be changed for that period; and no technical changes that would cause more than 50% of the city-grade coverage to fall outside tribal lands would be permitted.

    B. Limit downgrades to AM permits after receiving a fair-distribution preference.

    When awarding an AM permit, applicants who propose to serve a significantly greater number of people receive preference. The Commission fears applicants may propose a certain level of service in order to “trump” other applicants and win the permit – and then amend the permit to specify a lower level of service.

    The Commission has decided that applicants who win a permit this way must serve[1] at least 80% of the originally-proposed population for at least four years. Further, such licensees may not change their city of license for four years.

    C. Require applications for new AM stations (or major changes) be “Technically Eligible for Auction Processing at Time of Filing”.

    In recant AM Auction #84, the FCC found 14% of the applications filed were defective. In the 321 cases where preliminary applications were not mutually-exclusive with other applications, 91 applicants never filed the complete technical data necessary to finish processing – and of the 230 applicants who did file, nearly 30% filed technically-deficient applications.

    The Commission has ruled that in future AM auctions, for applications to be accepted they must show:
    - The principal community (city of license) will receive the required signal level day and night.[2]
    - Existing stations, existing permits for new stations, and previously-filed applications for new stations or changes to existing stations will be protected from interference day and night.[3]

    Applications that do not meet one or more of these criteria will be placed on Public Notice as “Technically Ineligible for Filing”. Applicants will be given a single chance to amend the power, antenna parameters, or tower site in order to come into compliance. Amendments to frequency or city-of-license will not be accepted. The Public Notice will set a deadline for such amendments – today's action suggests this deadline is likely to be on the order of 30 days.

    D. “Permanentize” the acceptability of technical modifications and settlements that don't clear all mutual exclusivities.

    Usually, when broadcast applications are accepted, two or more mutually-exclusive applications will be filed. It may be possible to resolve the mutual exclusivity if two or more applicants agree to make technical changes, or to have one or more applicants withdraw their application(s). The rules had only required the Commission to accept these settlements if they resolve all the mutual exclusivities.

    It had, however, been Commission practice in recent auctions to accept such settlements if any of the mutual exclusivities is cleared – if at least one application becomes immediately grantable as a result. The FCC has decided to codify that practice in their regulations.

    E. Establish authority to limit the number of AM applications that may be filed in a window.

    In AM Auction 32, 171 applicants filed 258 proposals; in Auction 84, 460 applicants filed 1,311 proposals. The Commission fears many of these applications may have been speculative – the applicant filed a large number of proposals in the hopes that one or more would be granted, but without intention of building all of them.

    The Commission has decided to allow the Media Bureau staff to decide whether to set a limit on the number of applications any party may file in any given AM auction, and to establish what that limit should be.

    F. Provide flexibility in the deadline for filing long-form applications after an auction.

    Applicants file a “short-form” application before going to a broadcast auction. Those which win the auction then have 30 days to file a complete “long-form” application. Some FM auctions have closed just before Thanksgiving – requiring winning bidders to complete their long-form paperwork during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season.

    One commenter made the obvious suggestion: that the Commission should avoid scheduling auctions to close just before a holiday! What they actually did do... was to delegate authority to the Media Bureau to extend the filing deadline.

    G. Clarify the New Entrant Bidding Credit Unjust Enrichment Rule.
    H. Clarify the Maximum New Entrant Bidding Credit Eligibility.

    These still need clarification – I don't know what they're talking about even after they clarify things! This has to do with a credit provided to auction participants who don't already own broadcasting stations.


    A. Implement a Tribal Bidding Credit.

    While the proposals to promote broadcast ownership among Native American Tribes are pretty generous for non-commercial operations, they are not nearly so generous for commercial stations. Tribes may receive a preference for the allotment of channels on their lands, but non-tribal entities will compete, at auction, with the tribes for the right to use those channels.

    The New Entrant Bidding Credits discussed above would likely benefit most tribes. Still, they'll find it difficult to compete with well-heeled large broadcast groups. Two entities suggested the FCC provide a further bidding credit to qualified Tribes. The Commission asks whether such a credit should be provided, and if so, whether it should be in addition to, or replacing, the New Entrant credit.

    B. Extend the Tribal Priority to tribes with no reservations.

    While there are 563 Native American Tribes in the U.S., there are only 312 reservations. (and some Tribes have more than one) This means there are more than 250 Tribes which do not control any “tribal lands” on which Tribal Priority would apply.

    The Commission asks whether they should make provisions for Tribal Priority for Tribes which do not have tribal lands. Should a minimum population density of members establish “tribal lands”?


    [0] Any such Tribes must have a portion of their tribal lands within the proposed station's city-grade coverage area. Other Tribes may be part owners, but their participation is on the same basis as non-Native people.

    [1] Four years' service means the station must be on the air for at least four years while meeting the requirements. The duration of an unbuilt construction permit doesn't count.

    [2] Principal community coverage is not required at night for class D stations. However, no new Class D licenses are being granted.

    [3] Class D stations need not be protected at night.

    Saturday, January 30, 2010

    Major Canadian stations off the air

    50,000-watt stations CINF-690 and CINW-940 Montreal both left the air Friday night. The shutdowns are permanent. CINF had been a French-language all-news outlet; CINW had the same format in English, though they'd flipped to oldies a few months ago.

    This is the second time these two frequencies have gone silent. They were originally launched by the CBC, as their stations for English-language Radio 1 (940) and French-language Radio-Canada. (690) Both CBC stations moved to FM.

    The 690 facility has the best coverage of any Montreal station - you might expect one of the smaller AM facilities to express interest in taking it over.

    But both frequencies are currently silent and will likely remain so for months. When the CBC abandoned the frequencies for their Montreal stations, their 690 station in Vancouver was heard over a fair part of the continent. There is also a French-language station on 690 in Saskatchewan.

    Tuesday, January 26, 2010

    Remember this post?

    "Anonymous" posted this comment.

    Looks like (s)he knew what they were writing about... as the KBUG license has also now been canceled... Reason is pretty much the same.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Temporary domestic-band broadcasts in Haiti

    The Milcom Monitoring Post is reporting the Pennsylvania National Guard's Commando Solo airborne broadcast station has been dispatched to Haiti.

    See also this page at the Department of Defense.

    Shortwave Central reports the frequencies in use are 1030 AM and 92.4 and 104.1 FM. Obviously, one would expect programming to be in Creole.

    AM callsign changes

    Lithonia, Ga. 1360 WHRH (new station)
    Savannah, Ga. 1520 WSHX (new station)
    Pleasantville, N.J. 1490 WBSS from WTAA
    Concord, N.C. 1410 WTIX from WEGO
    Cramerton, N.C. 730 WZGV from WOHS
    Winston-Salem, N.C. 980 WEGO from WTIX