Why May 9th Is A Big Day


In his latest blog post, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, following up on his NAB Las Vegas speech, announced that on May 9th the agency will be doing more to help AM Broadcasters survive. It’s on that day, at the Commission’s next meeting that a vote will be taken to streamline and expedite the Commission’s current process for resolving FM interference complaints due to the massive number of FM translators the FCC has approved in recent years.

The FCC has granted AM stations 1,707 construction permits for new FM translators, and almost five hundred of these translators are already on the air. Pai says the translators are helping AM broadcasters attract more listeners and advertisers. However, they have also lead to interference complaints from existing FM stations. And, the FCC has been, to this point, and like most government agencies, slow to address those issues.

Pai says the order being voted on May 9 would establish simpler interference remediation procedures, clarify listener complaint requirements, and make it easier for translators causing interference to change channels.


  1. This FM congestion has created a problem for pirate stations. Back in the day one could fire up 400khz from a local…now those frequencies are filled with translators, some rebroadcasting AM stations, some rebroadcasting HD-2 stations, e.g. Air one
    No fair!!

  2. There already are interference standards for translators–read 47 CFR 74.1204. The standards are similar to those used for non-commercial (88.1~91.9) stations. But there is also a rule allowing full-power stations to complain about translators operating well beyond the normal service area of the full-power station. So you have some 3 kw station in the far ‘burbs complaining about a translator 45 miles away in the big city. Hence the rule changes being proposed.

  3. Allowing FM translators to move to any available frequency just, to borrow the familiar metaphor, moves the chairs around on the deck of the Titanic. If all 1,700 already approved cross-service translators go on the air, that just adds to the messy congestion on the FM band, going from bad to worse. And, it seems like Pai’s FCC will keep doubling down on allowing more and more and more translators into an already crowded spectral neighborhood. Unfortunate…


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