Lost in Transmission
Jury says there was a lack of testing done at night for the AM band initially, because it technically was difficult. Once the general approval was given, iBiquity began running tests. "We worked with the NAB to analyze [night time AM testing] results," he says. "The NAB became satisfied and recommended to the FCC that AM night time broadcasting be permitted and the FCC is moving forward with that recommendation now."
For the moment, AM stations, like Paulausky's WPEN, have to turn off their broadcasts at night. Jury anticipates that the FCC will approve night time AM broadcasts by the end of this year. But Paulausky is not so sure. "They tend to do that kind of thing on their own time. It's difficult to predict what the FCC is going to do," he says.
What both would agree on is the benefit AM gains from digital. Jury suspects that it won't cause a rise in new AM stations, but that it will increase diversity for existing stations. "This really allows them to possibly go to formats they couldn't go to before," Paulausky says. The digital broadcast will allow them to improve their programming, especially in the kinds of music they can offer.