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Author Topic: Inside The FCC’s Plan To Allow AMs To Switch To All-Digital Broadcasting  (Read 430 times)

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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All-digital AM has the potential to significantly aid in the revitalization of the AM service. So says the draft order that the Federal Communications Commission is slated to vote on at its Oct. 27 meeting. The idea of allowing a voluntary station-by-station conversion has been met with broad support from many in the industry, and the draft order (MB Docket Nos. 19-311) shows the FCC has largely relied on several field tests conducted to determine how all-digital AM could not only help broadcasters but also listeners.

One requirement that the FCC has included in its proposal is the establishment of a 30-day waiting period after the station files a Form 335. Once those details are submitted, a station would not be able to make any changes to its planned technical operation. The 30-day notice would also be used to alert listeners with required on-air messages that, without a digital receiver, they will no longer be able to hear the station. But in terms of what those listener notices must say, the FCC is deferring to stations saying broadcasters have a “strong incentive” to promote the change using on-air and website announcements.

The draft order also includes a number of technical guidelines, mostly geared toward preventing digital AMs from interfering with other analog stations. That includes applying the existing analog power limits to the digital broadcasts. But the FCC is giving stations flexibility when controlling that power, saying it is an “evolving and highly technical area” of radio engineering.

Attorney David Oxenford said it appears the FCC isn’t concerned all-digital AMs will lead to more inference than currently exits with analog stations. “If interference does occur, the FCC will look to stations to resolve such interference between themselves, with FCC filings only required where there is a reduction in the power of the primary sidebands where the audio programming is transmitted. Only where the parties cannot voluntarily work out interference issues will the FCC get involved in mediating these disputes,” he wrote in a blog post.

To date only Hubbard Radio’s adult alternative “The Gamut” WWFD, Frederick, MD (820) has extensively tested AM multicasting, but as more stations switch to digital, the FCC is leaving open the door to further testing. Just one channel will need to be free, meaning some AMs could find new revenue-generating opportunities in their metadata.

Full article: http://www.insideradio.com/free/inside-the-fcc-s-plan-to-allow-ams-to-switch-to-all-digital-broadcasting/article_8481a410-0c51-11eb-91b5-3fc202f09b89.html

FYI - WWFD 820 is a local here. And it causes considerable QRM to adjacent 810 and 830 kHz.

« Last Edit: October 12, 2020, 1845 UTC by ChrisSmolinski »
Chris Smolinski
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Offline Azimuth Coordinator

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What's the point at this stage of the game.. The younger generation doesn't listen to radio everything is streamed on their phones.  the older generation has discovered Satellite Radio. So do we really need digital to hear today's self help and call in show or the latest colon cleanse ?? FM already has HD channels no one is listening to.. Like everything with the Government your 20 years late.. Thank the Bureaucrats kids...  Where is Wolfman Jack when you need him..

tAC
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Offline ChrisSmolinski

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What's the point at this stage of the game.. The younger generation doesn't listen to radio everything is streamed on their phones.  the older generation has discovered Satellite Radio. So do we really need digital to hear today's self help and call in show or the latest colon cleanse ?? FM already has HD channels no one is listening to.. Like everything with the Government your 20 years late.. Thank the Bureaucrats kids...  Where is Wolfman Jack when you need him..

tAC

We have 4 teenagers. None of them listen to the radio.

Digital Radio is a solution in search of a problem.
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Offline pinto vortando

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Just what the AM band needs... more interference.
Call it digital, call it revitalization, but in the end call it legalized jamming.
Das Radiobunker somewhere in Michigan

Offline skeezix

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Nighttime is going to be a mess.

Minneapolis, MN

Offline BoomboxDX

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It will save some stations, perhaps, 15 years hence. Most will stay analog or go off the air -- or a combination of both.

I say kudos to the FCC if they are indeed granting stations the option. Few will take it. Those that do may have some reason to have done so.

For DXers and casual users of the AM band, we probably won't see much difference when we tune the band. With the economy as it is, I don't see many -- if any -- AM stations investing in any new equipment, much less the equipment needed for all-digital.

As for potential interference to adjacents, I have a local 50 KW analog station that makes the two adjacent channels virtually unusable on most radios. I can't see where digital would be any worse.
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Offline pinto vortando

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Just leave bad enough alone.  In the long run the AM band will fix itself.  Non-viable stations will cease operation.
Viable stations in order to stay viable will have to offer programming that well serves the "public interest, convenience,
and necessity" (what they should be doing all along).  In other words, the market will fix itself.  In the process, there
will be fewer stations in the end.  Hate to see any station go dark but if it means better programming and less
interference, so be it. 
Das Radiobunker somewhere in Michigan

Offline East Troy Don

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  Where is Wolfman Jack when you need him..

tAC

With Larry Lujak laughing his ass off !  ;)
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Offline skeezix

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The problems that AM has will not be solved with IBOC:
1. Programming
2. Noise levels at MW

IBOC does not fix the first problem and masks the second problem.

There are a couple of stations in the Minneapolis-St Paul area that transmit on C-QUAM. They solve the first problem and sound fantastic. The second problem, is an enforcement (or, lack thereof) problem.

Uncle Charlie can go a long ways in "AM revitalization" if they enforce the Part 15 rules as written today. Its also up to the radio stations to put on the air programming the listeners want to hear.

Minneapolis, MN

Offline pinto vortando

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The problems that AM has will not be solved with IBOC:
1. Programming
2. Noise levels at MW

IBOC does not fix the first problem and masks the second problem.

There are a couple of stations in the Minneapolis-St Paul area that transmit on C-QUAM. They solve the first problem and sound fantastic. The second problem, is an enforcement (or, lack thereof) problem.

Uncle Charlie can go a long ways in "AM revitalization" if they enforce the Part 15 rules as written today. Its also up to the radio stations to put on the air programming the listeners want to hear.

ding ding ding…  we have a winner !
Das Radiobunker somewhere in Michigan

Offline redhat

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Just leave bad enough alone.  In the long run the AM band will fix itself.  Non-viable stations will cease operation.
Viable stations in order to stay viable will have to offer programming that well serves the "public interest, convenience,
and necessity" (what they should be doing all along).  In other words, the market will fix itself.  In the process, there
will be fewer stations in the end.  Hate to see any station go dark but if it means better programming and less
interference, so be it.

THIS!

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