The Federal Communications Commission has released a Second Report and Orderrelaxing the rules regarding transmitter site locations for FM translators that rebroadcast AM stations. The rule change, which is not yet effective, will provide greater flexibility for AM stations to locate FM translators in areas where they will better serve listeners.
Currently, an FM translator that rebroadcasts an AM station must be located within the lesser of: (a) the AM station’s 2 mV/m daytime service contour; or (b) a 25-mile radius centered at the AM station’s transmitter site. The FCC concluded that these siting limitations are too restrictive for some AM radio stations, such as those with transmitters located far from their communities of license, and those that reduce their power levels at night.
The new rule, which will become effective on a yet to-be-determined date, relaxes these site location restrictions, and will allow the rebroadcasting FM translator to be located anywhere within: (a) the AM station’s 2 mV/m daytime service contour; or (b) a 25-mile radius centered at the AM station’s transmitter site. As a result, once the rules become effective, FM translators that rebroadcast AM stations can be located further than 25 miles from the AM transmitter, if the 2 mV/m AM daytime contour extends beyond the 25-mile limit.