NYSBA To Oppose GBS Booster Proposal

NYSBA, along with other state broadcast associations, is filing with the FCC in opposition to a proposal by Geo Broadcast Solutions (GBS) to revise the FCC’s booster rules. Currently, a station using a booster must transmit the same content on both its primary station and the booster. GBS proposes to change the FCC’s rule to allow a station to run different content on its booster stations. It argues that this will allow stations to serve separate communities with micro-targeted content and advertising. To support its proposal, GBS submitted technical information to the FCC purportedly showing that it has developed technology to reduce the zone of c0-channel interference typically caused by operating boosters.

When this issue first arose several years ago, we filed with the FCC noting concerns about the potential for increasing levels of aggregate interference in the FM band. One could argue that a station employing multiple boosters is only interfering with itself and should have the freedom to do so. However, we noted that if many stations in a market began to employ this technology, it could affect the entire FM band. In effect, it could “chop up” the FM band into multiple small cells with zones of interference between each cell. As a result, listeners could become frustrated and simply abandon the FM band for other audio mediums. An engineering analysis prepared by NAB indicates that this remains a concern.

In addition, several stations have filed with the FCC raising concerns about cannibalizing advertising markets. Chasing after micro-targeted submarkets with boosters could harm the entire radio advertising market.

Based on this analysis, we have joined with the other state broadcasting associations and filed a letter with the FCC opposing the proposal. The letter can be found here.