In response to a request filed by SSR Communications, Inc., the FCC is accepting statements of support or opposition for a proposal to amend the broadcast separation rules to permit creation of a new class of FM station, tentatively called “Class C4.” The maximum effective radiated power of stations in the class would be 12 kW, with a maximum antenna height of 100 meters HAAT. Only broadcast Zone II (which consists of most of the United States outside the industrialized areas of the northeast and midwest) would be eligible for Class C4 stations.
The petitioner contends that the new class will fill a “hole” between Class A and Class C3, and would allow “hundreds” of Class A stations to upgrade service. However, some opponents are concerned about the proposal’s potential to displace or limit Low Power FM, FM translators (including those retransmitting AM and FM stations), and noncommercial educational stations operating on non-reserved channels.
The petition also proposes the establishment of a “show cause” procedure under which a Class A station that wants to upgrade to Class C4 status could file an application that would force co-channel or adjacent channel facilities that have operated with less than maximum class facilities for over 10 years to either construct at the maximum facilities or accept a binding Section 73.215 designation, which would limit the degree of protection to which such stations would be entitled in the future.
Statements supporting or opposing the proposal are due at the FCC by August 18, 2014. A request to extend the comment date until August 22, 2014 is pending.
Please contact any attorney in our office if you have questions regarding the new Class C4 proposal and/or if you would like to file comments regarding the proposal.