Pai, a big advocate for revitalizing the AM band, told attendees at the Radio Ink Hispanic Radio Conference Wednesday that of the 500 applications submitted so far, over 400 of them have been approved in the past two months. A far cry from the snails pace of getting AM revitalization out of the starting gate, which took years since Pai proposed it back in 2012.
Pai said dozens of applications have come from Spanish-language AM stations all across the country. “From KSPE in Santa Barbara, California to WOCN in Miami, Florida, from WRYM in New Britain, Connecticut to WLRS in Eminence, Kentucky, the Commission has taken concrete action to help Spanish-language AM broadcasters.”
And, Pai added, some of the other stations that have received translators also help to illustrate the diversity that is found on the AM band. “For example, there’s a Punjabi station in Yuba City, California, and two stations in Chicago that broadcast programming in Polish, Russian, German, and Korean. Last October, we also reformed many of our technical rules pertaining to the AM band. The details of those changes are difficult for anyone who isn’t an engineer to understand. But they will make a real difference to AM broadcasters. They will make it easier for stations to improve their signal quality, give stations more flexibility when it comes to site location, and reduce AM broadcasters’ operating costs.”
Pai also admitted the Commission’s work on AM revitalization is far from over. “Last October, we also teed up a number of additional technical ideas suggested by stakeholders to help revitalize the AM band. I look forward to reviewing the public’s input on those ideas. For any that have merit, I hope that the Commission will move forward swiftly. And beyond consideration of those specific proposals, we also need to continue the dialogue about the long-term future of the AM band.”