FCC Authorizes All-Digital AM Radio

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

Services

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

media marketplace.

 

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.

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