While the FCC has taken some steps toward AM radio revitalization, including the current FM translator window, Womble Carlyle Telecom attorney Gregg Skall said bolder steps are needed to help the AM industry.
In a new FCC Focus column for Radio Guide, Skall writes that “The 800 pound gorilla left in the room was the proposal to modify AM protection standards by revising the protected service contour definitions to recognize modern-day noise and interference.”
Skall said that in order to help AM stations reach listeners, the FCC needs to stop focusing on interference between radio stations and, instead, address noise generated by the environment, interference from electrical devices, and other technical issues.
“The bottom line appears to be that change in interference criteria…will allow AM station signal improvement in consideration of modern-day noise and interference conditions across the board, including both expanded coverage in the daytime for most stations and expanded groundwave coverage by Class B and Class A stations that operate with directional antennas at night—without real harm to any actual Class A station listeners,” Skall writes.
Gregg Skall represents broadcasters and other parties in their regulatory dealings before the Federal Communications Commission and in their commercial business dealings. He serves as Washington Counsel to several state broadcaster associations. He also works with telecommunications companies and with radio device manufacturers to obtain FCC approvals.