At its October 25 open meeting, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking to revise or eliminate its rules concerning access to common FM and TV tower sites. The rules prohibit the grant, or renewal of a license for an FM or TV station if that 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 potential competitors. The rules have been used sparingly because of modern tower site use and now the Commission wants to know if they should be revised or wiped from the books.
The rules stem from 1945 when FM and television broadcasting were still
in their infancy, the infrastructure available to broadcast a signal
over the air was sparse, and there were broadcast material and equipment
shortages. At that time, the FCC was concerned that exclusive use of an
antenna site could restrict the number of FM and TV stations in a
particular area or otherwise impede station competition.
In 1945, there were 46 licensed FM broadcast stations; today, there are
6,726 FM commercial stations and 4,179 educational FMs. The terrestrial
radio broadcast market today also includes 4,610 AMs, 2,178 LPFMs, and
over 8,000 FM translators and boosters. In 1945, there were nine
television stations; today, there are 1,757 commercial and noncommercial
educational full-power TV stations, 387 Class As, almost 1,900 LPTVs,
and more than 3,600 TV translators. Continue Reading