What Happened to My Station?
It’s been good season for tropospheric ducting along the New England shore. You might not be familiar with the term “tropospheric ducting,” but you just might have experienced it and not known why.
We’re all familiar with the way that AM signals bounce at night and come down far from their point of origin. Anyone who has listened to the big 50,000 Watt clear channel AMs knows the thrill of hearing a distant AM on a regular radio. I was once surprised to hear WBZ from Boston while in a traffic jam one night in Atlanta, Georgia. An AM station’s “skywave” component reflects off the ionosphere as it cools down at night and the usually transparent-to-AM layer turns reflective and the AM signal comes back to earth far from it’s transmitter. Frequency and tower height influence the degree of skywave along with seasonal differences and weather conditions.
As announced in October 2015 in the AM Order the commission had opened a special filing window for FM translators for use with AM radio stations. This is a two part window, with the first part open now for the next six months – ending July 28, 2016. The second window will be for three months opening July 29th and closing October 31st, 2016.
The current window is for Class C and D AM licensees only. The second round in July will be for AM stations of any class. Applications are processed on a first come first serve basis. So timing is of the essence. It is important to get started immediately.
During the window periods AM stations or permittees are being given the opportunity to acquire and relocate one FM translator station in the non reserved band – 92.1 – 107.9 Mhz. The translator may be relocated up to 250 miles.
Only one application may be filed by the AM station and may only be listed as the primary input on a single translator application.
In many ways, LPFM stations are just like any other radio station: they must comply with FCC regulations regarding interference, indecency and emergency response, and their signal can be heard with an ordinary FM radio. The similarities end there. In… Continue reading