FCC to Invite Comment to Change 1940’s Era Antenna Siting Rules

Current FCC rules prohibit the grant, or renewal, of a license for an FM or TV station if the applicant or licensee controls an antenna site that is peculiarly suitable for broadcasting in the area and does not make the site available for use by other similar licensees.  The rules date to the 1940’s when FM and TV broadcasting were still in their infancy and the infrastructure available to broadcast a signal over the air was sparse. Moreover, during World War II, the U.S. government imposed a freeze on the construction of new broadcast facilities in order to conserve equipment and materials for the war effort.

At its October meeting the FCC will seek comment on whether these rules should be eliminated or revised, and specifically whether they remain necessary to promote broadcast competition and ensure an adequate variety of FM and TV broadcast sources.  In this regard the FCC seeks information on whether requests for use of antenna sites under these rules are even made today and on specific instances in which the rules have proven useful in promoting access to desirable antenna sites.  Finally the Commission will seek comment and data on the costs and benefits of eliminating these restrictions and whether impending changes to the broadcast industry, including the transition to ATSC 3.0, will increase demand for antenna sites and the need for common antenna site rules.

To see a copy of the FCC proposed Notice of Proposed rule making click HERE.


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