The FCC’s “AM Revitalization” proceeding continues to grind its way through the system, and there’s a lot at stake right now for AM stations of all classes.

We’ve gotten directly involved with the process this year through our business, but even before that, we were commenting on the process. Here’s the set of comments we filed on the latest Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

What’s your opinion? Weigh in in the comments – but weigh in with the Commission, too. Reply comments are due April 20.

AM Improvement 2016


  1. These comments by Scott to the FCC are of immense importance: “While one hopes sincerely that the need never arises, class A AM broadcasters are likely to be the last communications media still standing in case of massive destruction or war. In the meantime, in non-emergency situations, those class A signals still provide news and talk programming to rural and tribal areas on a nightly basis at no monthly fee.”

    In August of 2011, Hurricane Irene devastated Vermont. The night of that storm, radio signals went dark, a cascade of darkness. One station, however, remained, WDEV (550 Waterbury). The class B station was granted authority to remain at 5kW full-time during the crisis and came in like a local here (45 miles). The majestic Green Mountains were no match for the heritage signal, in fact, Vermont’s first radio station dating back to 1931. What made what appeared to be the lone statewide signal so significant a player during that crisis was the fact the they were heavily staffed with live, real-time people reporting from the central Vermont area as the streets outside turned to small rivers. The State of Vermont emergency management team, all the way up to the governor, relied, at one point, on WDEV to communicate among teams attempting to save lives.

    In the not far-fetched event of a wide-spread grid failure, I have little doubt that 550 kHz will stand relatively alone, along with WBZ and other major AM signals. And many will be examining their radios to determine how to select the trusty AM band.

  2. Scott,
    I have a thought. Why not expand the FM Band in both directions. Go down to ~75 Mhz and up to ~125Mhz. With the technical geeks around today, someone can invent a device that sits in a car, or on a radio in a house that allows the additional portion of the bands to be picked up. Move all but a few National Emergency AM (ala Conelrad) stations to these new frequencies. Everybody is happy.
    (Move existing stuff on those new frequencies to other frequencies). more…

    Hey if this is revolutionary, let’s share the idea and make a fortune. If it’s really stupid, well at least it was a ‘try’
    Walter Runyon
    978 546 5894
    Roclport, MA 01966

    • Above 108 MHz is the aviation band, so that’s a no-go. Below 88 MHz are TV channels 5 and 6, and while there have been plenty of proposals to expand the FM band down there, those channels are still in use for TV in many markets (including Philadelphia and Baltimore/Washington) and will be even less available after the upcoming TV repack displaces other stations to those channels.

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