The FCC is asking for comments on a proposal to allow FM booster stations to originate limited amounts of geo-targeted programming independent of their primary stations. The technology, known as “zonecasting,” would allow an FM broadcaster to simultaneously transmit different programming – such as geo-targeted ads, news, traffic, and weather – on FM boosters located within the primary station’s service area. For example, during spot breaks, a booster could air different advertisements from those airing on the main station, and those different advertisements could be targeted to a specific geographical segment of the station’s service area.
The FCC has asked for comments on a variety of issues related to the proposal, including whether permitting FM boosters to transmit original programming would result in additional interference to primary stations or to other broadcast stations, and whether there should be a limit on the number of FM boosters that a broadcaster can associate with a primary station for purposes of originating geo-targeted programming. The FCC also seeks comment on how the proposal would impact localism, competition among broadcasters, and listeners.
Comments will be due 30 days after the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is published in the Federal Register, and reply comments will be due 60 days after the Federal Register publication.
If you would like to file comments on the proposal, or need more information about it, please contact any attorney in our office.