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FCC Proposes Allowing FM Stations to Increase Digital Power


Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission

The FCC has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that seeks to give digital FM and Low Power FM stations more flexibility to increase digital power levels. This would encourage more FM broadcasters to adopt digital technology and would make digital broadcasts available to a greater number of listeners. Currently, over 2,000 FM stations broadcast digitally. The NPRM seeks comment on two proposals and asks whether these changes will benefit the public or impact existing FM services.

"NAB applauds the FCC's initiation of a proceeding to consider proposals to improve FM digital radio service. The proposals, initially submitted by NAB and other radio stakeholders, will allow FM stations to increase digital broadcast power to improve coverage and service for listeners, including audiences inside buildings. The proposed rule changes will also enable broadcasters to target power increases to minimize the impact on neighboring stations. NAB supports the FCC's preliminary conclusion that adopting these rule changes will enhance digital FM radio service, and we look forward to working with the FCC on formal adoption of the proposals," said NAB Senior Vice President of Communications Alex Siciliano in a statement.

Specifically, the NPRM proposes to change the way an FM station can determine its maximum permissible digital power level, thus expanding the number of stations that can broadcast at higher digital power levels. Additionally, it proposes to allow FM stations to operate their digital sidebands at different power levels in order to give broadcasters greater flexibility to maximize power while avoiding interference. These proposed actions would offer more efficient FM digital operation, increase digital signal coverage and provide a more robust digital signal for reception inside buildings.

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