FCC to Vote on `Franken FM’ Issue

WASHINGTON, D.C.—During its July assembly on July 20, the FCC will vote on points relating to FM6 stations, aka “Franken FMs” and think about a Report and Order permitting a restricted group of current channel 6 low energy tv stations to proceed to present analog FM radio service as an ancillary or supplementary service.The difficulty has emerged as an fascinating one for the rollout of NextGen TV/ATSC 3.0 companies as some LPTV stations transformed to ATSC 3.0 broadcasts whereas providing a analog FM service. Last July, the NAB filed feedback with the FCC rejecting a proposal by NPR to repurpose some unused channel 6 spectrum to be used as FM radio stations as a result of that spectrum is enjoying an useful function within the rollout of NextGen TV/ATSC 3.0 companies.   The FCC issued Notice of Proposed Rulemaking final yr and can now vote on an Order that permits 13 LPTV stations to proceed to function on 87.7 MHzs. The full order is on the market right here.   In asserting the agenda for the July assembly, FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel famous that: “We’re preserving established native programming for radio audiences. For years, some low-power tv stations licensed on Channel 6 have offered listeners native radio programming that was picked up on the FM dial. The Commission will vote to enable these so-called FM6 stations to proceed offering their current analog radio service by authorizing them as “ancillary or supplementary.”In the proposed Order, the FCC famous that “Although FM6 LPTV stations had been required to discontinue analog tv operations and convert to digital in July 2021, there have been 13 FM6 LPTV stations that had been in a position to full their digital transition and resume their FM6 operations with an FM6 STA with restricted, if any, service interruptions.  We discover that preserving the long-time audio programming supplied by these remaining FM6 LPTV stations aligns with one of many Commission’s core rules guiding the digital transition minimizing service disruptions. FM6 LPTV stations present free, over-the-air synchronized video and audio programming utilizing a standard-compliant ATSC 3.0 sign and complement that programming with further free, over-the-air analog audio broadcast companies….[T]he availability of those further audio companies has offered programmers with a platform on which to put money into programming directed to unserved or underserved audiences that will not be accessible on some other stations of their markets all whereas persevering with to present free over-the-air video programming pursuant to their tv licenses. To take away this service that radio listeners have relied on for a few years would contravene the Commission’s objective of preserving service.”   While the FCC grandfathered these 13 stations. it didn’t enable new stations to provide the service in areas the place it had not already been launched. Extensive protection of the problem may be discovered at our sister publication Radio World and at TV Tech in a sequence of articles on the topic by James O’Neal.  


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