Update: Comment Dates Set on Prometheus Petition for Reconsideration of Relaxation of Siting Rules for FM Translators Rebroadcasting AM Stations

Earlier this week, we wrote about a number of proceedings affecting FM translators, including the Petition for Reconsideration (available here) of the FCC decision relaxing the rules governing the locations at which AM stations using FM translators to rebroadcast their signal can locate those translators (see our summary here). Notice of that Petition has now been published in the Federal Register, setting May 19 as the date for formal oppositions to the petition, with replies due May 30. As many AM stations with FM translators have already filed applications relying on the new rules, there are bound to be oppositions to this petition.

Prometheus argues that the Commission, when it decided to allow AM stations to locate FM translators so that their signals did not exceed the greater of 25 miles from the AM site or the 2 mv/m contour of the AM station, whichever is greater (instead of the lesser of those contours, as had been the prior rule), had not given proper notice of its proposed rule change, as the rule as adopted did not contain an absolute limit on the distance from the AM station that the FM translator could reach, when the FCC had initially proposed a 45 mile limit. Prometheus also claims that LPFM stations that are displaced by new FM stations could be blocked in their site selection by this greater latitude in site selection afforded to AM licensees (though, as we wrote here when Prometheus asked for a stay of the new rules, it is impossible to prove such an assertion, as it is possible that, in any particular case, a translator site closer to the AM station could actually be more preclusive to a particular LPFM filing than one further from the AM site). In any event, broadcasters can voice their opposition to the Prometheus petition by the May 19 deadline.