Late May is Hot, Hot, Hot for FCC Proceeding 99-325 on IBOC


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Staffers at the FCC's Media Bureau who were eyeing early June vacations may have to postpone their plans, at least for a little while, as recent filings concerning their agency's authorization of IBOC digital power increases continue to pile up.

Observers would do well to keep a scorecard handy. Critics of the FCC's action to allow up to a 6dB increase without process and up to 10dB increase with notification responded last month with three petitions for reconsideration, two applications for review, along with a motion to strike opposition comments filed by iBiquity.

Those asking for reconsideration of the FCC's authorization to crank up the bit juice include the Prometheus Radio Project, claiming the FCC acted arbitrarily and capriciously. Petitioner Alan Jurison, on the other hand, complains an NPR study that composes the technical foundation on which the Commission based its action is faulty. Consulting firm Mullaney Engineering similarly petitioned, arguing that any increase in interference between licensees ought to be a mutually negotiated process.

Among those requesting an FCC review of the matter was Press Communications, insisting that technical data collection during the decision-making process was done primarily by those with a vested interest in advancing digital signals, and that FM licensees were not being given equal consideration. Joining in was Peter and John Radio Fellowship, licensee of WRBS Baltimore, with specific concerns about increased interference from short-spaced WRBT in Harrisburg, PA.

As expected, iBiquity vigorously responded on May 25th to all of the above with a consolidated objection that takes on all comers on a point-by-point basis. The NAB also filed comments in support of iBiquity, and urged the Commission to move on with its agenda.

Since then, Jonathan Hardis, a critic of the NPR study, has filed a motion to strike iBiquity's objection on procedural grounds. And as of publication of this article, Givens & Bell filed a response to iBiquity's opposition, noting that its strenuous opposition to their prior request that the FCC require specific notification by those stations operating in so-called extended hybrid IBOC mode ought to raise a red flag for regulators.

The entire list of documents can be viewed on the FCC's ECFS site.




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