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Digital Radio Gets Another Boost By FCC

Multiple technical and policy rules approved last Thursday by the FCC for digital AM/FM broadcasting will enable digital AM stations to broadcast at night, give digital FM stations more bandwidth for additional multicast channels, and let stations offer datacasting and multicasting services without prior approval.

The FCC said approval of nighttime digital AM broadcasting will encourage AM stations to adopt digital.

Thursday’s 5-0 vote did not impose restrictions on the digital recording of digital AM and FM broadcasts or impose new public-interest or local-content requirements on multicast FM channels.

The FCC, however, did not close the door on future copy-control restrictions or new local-content and public-interest requirements. The commission is holding off on copy-control deliberations for now while the broadcast, consumer electronics and content industries continue negotiations, a spokesman said. New public-interest requirements could also be imposed in the future because the FCC agreed to seek public comments on the issue.

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