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Congress Explores Tools for Shutting Pirate Radio

Boosting FCC fines to as much as $2 million, penalizing building owners and stepping up raids in major Radio markets are among the options Congress is considering for combating illegal broadcast operations under legislation unveiled last week in a House Telecommunications Subcommittee hearing. The measures are intended to protect against interference with licensed broadcasters, the Emergency Alert System and airport flight controls, as well as radiation exposure to nearby residents and workers.

 

The bipartisan PIRATE Act, co-authored by Reps. Leonard Lance, R-NJ, and Paul Tonko, D-NY, would employ a combination of heightened penalties to stem the growing spread of pirate radio operations in communities throughout the country. Illegal operations are being found on the AM and FM bands alike, with FCC enforcement officers discovering transmitters operating from rooftops, balconies and other properties.

 

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Special Translator Window Open – Now

As announced in October 2015 in the AM Order the commission had opened a special filing window for FM translators for use with AM radio stations. This is a two part window, with the first part open now for the next six months – ending July 28, 2016. The second window will be for three months opening July 29th and closing October 31st, 2016.

 

The current window is for Class C and D AM licensees only. The second round in July will be for AM stations of any class. Applications are processed on a first come first serve basis. So timing is of the essence. It is important to get started immediately.

 

During the window periods AM stations or permittees are being given the opportunity to acquire and relocate one FM translator station in the non reserved band – 92.1 – 107.9 Mhz. The translator may be relocated up to 250 miles. Only one application may be filed by the AM station and may only be listed as the primary input on a single translator application.

 

If you have an FM translator license that you would be interested in selling or have an AM station seeking an FM translator, it is imperative that you begin now. Call us or use the contact form below to get started. 903-270-1500

 

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FCC Finalizes Regs For LPTV Conversion

The FCC has released their final rule laying out regulations for low-power television stations switching from analog to digital transmission as well as adopting rules which will accommodate industry changes resulting from the upcoming broadcast incentive auction.

 

The final rule extended the deadline for low-power television stations, or LPTVs, to transition to digital transmission to one year after the 39-month post-auction transition period. The FCC said this was in an effort to grant LPTVs enough time to analyze the new low-band spectrum landscape following the broadcast incentive auction.  The auction is scheduled to begin in March, 2016. The initial deadline was previously Sept. 1, 2015.

 

The Commission said it would assist LPTVs in finding new broadcast channels for stations that are kicked off of their current frequencies as a result of the auction, which will redistribute significant spectrum rights from broadcasters to wireless providers. LPTVs and TV translator stations will also be allowed to share channels under the rule, which the FCC said would further aid stations displaced by the auction.

 

Death of Analog

 

The final rule will also extend the end of a mandate that new Televisions include an analog tuner to pick up broadcast stations. After Aug. 31, 2017, manufacturers will no longer be required to include analog tuners in televisions.

 

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