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FM translators for AM stations

The 2016 FM Translator move opportunity window is now closed. As a part of the FCC's efforts to revitalize AM, there was an opportunity for AM stations and translator owners intending to rebroadcast the signal of an AM station under an agreement with the station to be able to obtain an existing translator and move it up to 250 miles to a community near the AM station.  Once the translator is moved, the translator must carry the AM station for at least 4 years. This opportunity was available from January 29 through July 28, 2016 for Class C and D AM stations and then a second opportunity from July 29 through October 31, 2016 for all classes of AM stations including Class C and D stations that did not participate in the January through July opportunity.    Even with the window closed, REC can still assist with minor modifications.  Translators may change locations where the new and old contours have some overlap and/or the channel changes to a first, second, third, 53rd or 54th adjacent channel.

Likely in 2017, there will be two translator filing windows for new translator stations (for AM licensees only).  First, for Class C and D AM stations that did not participate in the 2016 opportunity, then a second window for all AM stations that did not participate in the 2016 opportunities or the previous 2017 window.  We are awaiting a Report and Order from the FCC that will hopefully announce when this second window set will be.

The current rules require that the 60 dBu protected service contour of the proposed relocated translator must be entirely within the 2 mV/m daytime contour of the AM station or 25 miles, whichever is shorter.  It is proposed that this requirement be extended to the 2 mV/m daytime contour of 25 miles, whichever is longer with a maximum reach of 40 miles.

REC is equipped to assist AM licensees wishing to obtain a new translator in the next filing window.  At this time, we can only speculate on the rules but we can provide you with the ability to search for available channels whether or not you use REC for the actual filing.  Any charges paid for a channel search can be credited towards the costs of the full application services which include your construction permit application and your license to cover application.   

For assistance, please contact REC at 1-844-732-5736.  REC is reasonably priced compared to other more full-service engineering firms.  Pricing will vary based on project requirements (directional antenna, second/third adjacent channel waiver, need for an assignment application, etc.).  

Please note that this potential 2017 new translator opportunity is only for FM translators that will be used to rebroadcast AM stations and can not be used for LPFM or full-power FM stations. Translators must be applied for by the AM licensee.  If you need to move a translator for an FM or LPFM station, REC can assist you but the normal FCC move guidelines would apply. 

CALL REC at 1-844-732-5736

Additional resources:

Find competing AM stations in your market with FM translators

REC's FCCdata.org - to look up the 2 mV/m contour of an AM station

FCC AM Revitalization Home Page