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FCC Adopts NPRM Allowing AMs to Air All-Digital Signals


FCC
FCC

The FCC has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), allowing AM broadcasters to air an all-digital signal using HD Radio in-band on-channel (IBOC) mode known as MA3. The agency concluded that a voluntary transition to all-digital broadcasting has the potential to benefit AM stations and provide improved AM service to the listening public. The move continues the FCC's efforts to improve and update the AM radio service.

The Commission says digital service can improve analog signals and a station's audio quality and useable signal range. In addition, digital broadcasting offers AM broadcasters the potential ability to transmit auxiliary information, such as song and title information, to accompany the main audio programming.

In response to the FCC's adoption, NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton said in a statement, "NAB applauds the FCC on moving forward with this proceeding to provide AM stations the option to broadcast using an all-digital signal. Many AM radio broadcasters are exploring all-digital radio's potential for delivering markedly improved reliability and audio quality for listeners. Broadcasters appreciate the FCC's leadership on the issue of AM revitalization and look forward to working with the Commission and other stakeholders in advancing this rulemaking."

In 2002, the Commission approved a digital radio system for use in the U.S. -- the IBOC digital radio system originally developed by iBiquity, tested by the National Radio Systems Committee (NRSC) and currently owned and licensed by Xperi under the brand name "HD Radio."

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