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Dates Set for Comments on FCC’s Zonecasting Rulemaking Proposal for FM Boosters

David Oxenford

Editors note:  On January 21 at 2 p.m. Eastern, David Oxenford will present a free webinar to MAB members ““What Can Broadcasters Expect in 2021?”  On January 20, we will be inaugurating a new President. With a new administration, there will be changes throughout the government, including at the FCC. The day after the inauguration, join David Oxenford of Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP for a preview of the broadcast regulation likely to be on the agenda of the FCC, Congress and others in Washington in this time of change.  Register for this free webinar here.

By: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP

The FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking to allow zonecasting by FM booster stations was published in the Federal Register today, setting the comment deadline as February 10, 2021 with reply comments due on or before March 12, 2021.  We’ve written about that proposal here and here.  The FCC proposes to allow FM boosters to originate limited amounts of programming (up to 5% of any program hour) different from their primary stations.  According to the proponents of the proposal, this will allow for insertion of hyper-local content including local news and advertisements in different parts of any station’s coverage area.  So, for instance, an FM station could run in the same commercial spot break ads for different car dealers in different parts of the primary station’s market where that station has boosters.  As we wrote when the NPRM was released, the FCC asks many questions in the NPRM – including technical questions about the likely interference that will result from implementation of the proposal.  It also asks operational, business and policy questions about the impact of the adoption of the proposal.  If you have a position on these issues, now is the time for the filing of comments.

David Oxenford is MAB’s Washington Legal Counsel and provides members with answers to their legal questions with the MAB Legal Hotline. Access information here. (Members only access).

There are no additional costs for the call; the advice is free as part of your MAB membership. 

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