Friday, October 28, 2011

Permit granted for new AM station

Midland, Texas: 1550KHz:
Permit granted for new station.
50,000 watts daytime
300 watts nighttime
directional day & night, different patterns.
(Bret D. Huggins)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

FCC doesn't buy smartphone as interference solution

The FCC has refused to allow the licensee of an FM translator to offer smartphones as a solution to interference to FM radio reception in Michigan.

A new radio station was launched in Detroit in April. Smooth jazz station "Oasis 104.7" broadcast over the HD2 subchannel of WGPR-107.5 -- and in analog over translator station W284BQ.

FM translators are not allowed to cause interference to full-power "regular" FM stations. Even if the normal engineering methods suggest no interference should occur, if complaints of actual interference are received, the translator must either make technical changes to eliminate it, or cease operations.

Translator W284BQ operates on 104.7 in Detroit. When it began operation this spring, listeners in Ypsilanti, Belleville and Taylor, Michigan contacted full-power station WIOT, on the same frequency in Toledo, Ohio 50 miles to the south, complaining of interference to WIOT's signal.

In July, the owners of W284BQ modified its antenna to reduce signal to the south, in the direction of the complainants. This seems to have resolved five of the 28 complaints. Another thirteen could not be contacted or refused to cooperate; and one doesn't listen to WIOT anymore & doesn't care about the interference.

W284BQ offered the remaining nine complainants free smartphones with the application. This can be used to listen to participating radio stations online; WIOT is one of the stations that participates in this program. The translator agreed to pay both for the smartphone hardware, and the airtime charges. Eight of the nine accepted the offer.

However, WIOT doesn't buy in to this plan. They gave the FCC several areas of concern:
- WIOT may discontinue participation in;
- The wireless network may fail;
- Smartphone listeners won't hear unstreamed content; (some material may not be licensed for broadcast over the Internet, where it may be heard in other markets where someone else has the rights)
- It's not entirely certain W284BQ would continue to pay the airtime fees indefinitely.

WIOT also mentioned 58 additional complaints. While they didn't explicitly say so, it would seem the smartphone solution doesn't do anything for listeners who might not listen to WIOT now, but who might hear the station & decide to listen to it in the future -- unless they can't receive it due to interference from W284BQ.

The FCC raised three additional issues:
- WIOT only forwarded complaints from listeners living within the station's "protected contour". The translator is responsible for resolving all complaints. (and given the densely populated area in which such interference is likely to occur, there are likely to be many such complaints.)
- Who's responsible for maintenance? If one of the smartphones is damaged or lost, will the translator pay for its repair or replacement?
- How can a cash-strapped FCC monitor & enforce compliance with such an unusual solution?


The Commission has decided W284BQ's solution is not workable. Pursuant to regulation 74.1203, a translator that interferes with a "regular" station must be shut down -- and the FCC has so ordered.

Friday, October 14, 2011

New AM station on the air

Garapan, Saipan: 1440KHz:
New station KKMP on the air.
1,100 watts day & night, non-directional.

Application for new AM station

Grants Pass, Oregon: 830KHz:
Application filed for new station.
5,000 watts daytime
1,000 watts nighttime
directional at night only
Grants Pass Radio Co.

Friday, October 07, 2011

AM station deleted (eventually)

Droitwich, England, U.K.: 198KHz:
(does the BBC *have* callsigns?)

As part of a large round of budget cuts, the BBC has announced they will not maintain their longwave transmitters on 198KHz. The move "...will lead to the end of Radio 4 on LW in the long term."

BBC Local Radio on AM will also be closed, where it duplicates FM coverage. I believe that would involve the following frequencies:

* BBC Radio Cumbria - 756, 837, 1458
* BBC Newcastle - 1458
* BBC Radio Lancashire - 855, 1557
* BBC Radio Merseyside - 1485
* BBC Radio Leeds - 774
* BBC Radio York - 666, 1260
* BBC Radio Humberside - 1485
* BBC Radio Nottingham - 1584
* BBC Radio Gloucestershire - 1413
* BBC Somerset - 1566

Transmitters in Guernsey (1116) and Jersey (1026) are reportedly exempt and will continue. None of these frequencies are particularly powerful; only the most well-equipped American DXers would stand much chance of logging any of these.

Non-commercial stations not allowed to air commercials

The FCC has denied a petition to waive the underwriting rules for non-commercial FM stations, to allow five stations owned by Network of Glory, Inc. to air commercials. Network of Glory claims that the poor economy has made it difficult to obtain grants and underwriting for the operation of their stations.

FCC regulation 73.503 allows non-commercial stations to acknowledge contributions on the air -- so-called "underwriting" announcements. This page explains what's acceptable in an underwriting announcement. Basically, non-commercial stations may identify their contributors, indicate where contributors' businesses are located, and indicate what type of business the firm conducts. They may not compare their contributors' products/services to those of other firms or issue a "call to action", asking listeners/viewers to buy something from contributors.

Network of Glory apparently feels these regulations are too restrictive, are making it difficult for them to obtain enough support to continue operation.

The Commission disagrees. Firstly, they state that Section 399B of the Communications Act prohibits the broadcast of commercials by non-commercial stations. The FCC cannot waive the Communications Act; only Congress can do that. The Commission also notes that having difficulty raising funds is hardly unusual among non-commercial stations. Network of Glory's situation is hardly unique; the right place to address their issues would be in a request to amend the FCC Regulations. (and before that, to amend the Communications Act)

The five stations involved are:
KEJA-91.7 Cale, Ark.
WAKP-89.1 Smithboro, Ga.
KEIS-90.3 York, Nebr.
KJOG-91.1 Cleveland, Okla.
WGBQ-91.9 Lynchburg, Tenn.

All five are fairly recent stations.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

New look of this blog

Blogger kept bothering me about upgrading my template, so I upgraded my template. I don't expect much else to happen with that, although I do intend to try to find a more relevant background. Would love to have a decent shot of an inline array of AM towers, if I can find one that's photographable and not too horribly far from Nashville. (I drive past one every day, but there's no publicly-accessible location from which it can be photographed!)

AM station (permit) deleted

Casa Grande, Arizona: 650KHz:
Permit for new station expired.
(no call letters had been assigned)