FCC Considers Allowing AM Broadcasters to Go Digital

The Federal Communications Commission is exploring the prospect of giving AM radio stations the option to voluntarily adopt digital broadcasting.

Published in late November, the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would allow AM stations to transition to all-digital transmissions. Specifically, the Proposed Rulemaking would permit AM broadcasters to transmit an all-digital signal using the high-definition (HD) radio in-band on-channel (IBOC) mode, also referenced as MA3.1. Allowing digital broadcasting by AM stations would reduce or eliminate interference and reception issues while also allowing broadcasts to provide higher sound fidelity.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would also establish operating parameters for all-digital stations to minimize the risk of interference with other broadcast operations, and would adopt an industry-approved standard for hybrid and all-digital broadcasting.

Read the complete text of the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in connection with digital AM broadcasting.

Public comments are due by the end of January 2020 and can be made through the FCC’s electronic filing system.

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