Under the terms of a Report and Order issued in late October, AM broadcasters will now have the option of converting their current analog or hybrid analog/digital transmissions to all-digital operations. The decision will support improved AM audio quality while also allowing broadcasters to provide listeners with additional information such as the name of the artist or the title of a song.
The Report and Order also establishes rules intended to protect existing AM broadcast stations from interference. Further, stations converting to all-digital operations must notify the Commission and the public at least 30 days in advance of their transition, and continue to participate in the Emergency Alert System.
As we’ve previously reported, analog signals are increasingly subject to interference from electronic devices, and fewer than 250 AM stations have adopted hybrid operations. According to FCC Chair Ajit Pai, all-digital broadcasts will offer listeners a higher quality audio experience over a greater geographic area and enable AM operators to remain competitive in the broadcast market.