An announcement from the FCC on digital AM:
For Immediate Release
FCC AUTHORIZES ALL-DIGITAL AM RADIO
Action Will Improve Listening Experience and Provide Consumers with Enhanced
WASHINGTON, October 27, 2020—The Federal Communications Commission today
adopted a Report and Order that allows AM radio stations to operate using all-digital broadcast
signals. AM broadcasters will be able to voluntarily choose whether and when to convert to
all-digital operation from their current analog or hybrid analog/digital signals.
All-digital broadcasting offers AM listeners significantly improved audio quality and more
reliable coverage over a wider listenable area than analog or hybrid digital broadcasts. It also
allows broadcasters to provide additional services to the public, such as song title and artist
information. These enhancements will enable AM broadcasters to better compete in today’s
Today’s Order establishes technical rules to protect existing AM broadcast stations from
interference. In addition, stations converting to all-digital operation will be required to notify
the Commission and the public 30 days in advance of their transition. These stations must
provide at least one free over-the-air digital programming stream that is comparable to or better
in audio quality than a standard analog broadcast. They also must continue to participate in the
Emergency Alert System. The Order envisions that AM broadcasters will decide whether to
convert to all-digital operation based on the conditions in their respective markets.
Action by the Commission October 27, 2020 by Report and Order (FCC 20-154). Chairman
Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly, Carr, Rosenworcel, and Starks approving. Chairman Pai, and
Commissioner Rosenworcel issuing separate statements.