It appears that FCC Commissioner, Ajit Pai, is pushing a plan to revitalize declining AM radio station and listener numbers in the US. Read some of the details below or the full article on the New York Times website.
Many thanks to David Goren for the tip!
(Source: NY Times)
[…]Because of interference caused by consumer electronics, smartphones and the like, AM radio often seems to deliver mostly static. The AM audience has fallen to 15 percent of all radio listeners, down from 50 percent as recently as 1978. While the FM audience has fallen as well, it draws more than five times the audience of AM.
[Steps include] eliminating a regulation requiring stations to prove that any new equipment decreases interference with other stations — a requirement that is expensive, cumbersome and difficult to meet.
The F.C.C. has also proposed eliminating or loosening rules that govern nighttime transmissions by AM stations. Those regulations currently require many AM stations to reduce their power or cease operating at night to avoid interference with other stations.
[…]The current regulations make it difficult for AM stations to locate towers where they will not interfere with nearby stations at night. They also put conflicting requirements on stations, mandating that they still cover most of their broadcast territory even while operating at reduced power.
The proposed new rules, the commission said, aim at keeping more stations on the air at night.
[T]he F.C.C. said it was ready to make available to current FM stations what are known as FM translators — empty spots on the FM dial where AM stations can broadcast. Those are particularly valuable in urban areas, where tall buildings with steel frames or aluminum siding can block AM signals, degrading reception.