BMC's AM Migration Plan

Wed Sep 24 09:14:46 EDT 2008

BMC stands for Broadcast Maximization Committee, but the name doesn't
tell us much. The BMC is a group that appears to consist mainly of
broadcast consulting engineers. The group has made a proposal to the
FCC to expand the FM band, over time, to occupy TV channels 5 and 6.
Those channels will not be heavily used after the DTV conversion in
February and the BMC offers proposed allocations elsewhere in the
spectrum for the TV stations that would otherwise remain on channels 5
and 6.

I have several questions: Was the BMC proposal solicited by the FCC or
did the group offer the proposal on its own? TV channels 5 and 6
occupy 12 MHz--from 76 to 88 MHz--just below the current FM band. The
proposal mentions channels 5 and 6 but also refers to 100 new FM
channels, which would occupy 20 MHz, 4 MHz of which (72 to 76 MHz)
between TV channels 4 and 5 are assigned to a non-broadcast service.
Wouldn't that service also have to be relocated?

The proposal refers to three uses for the expanded FM spectrum:
expansion of the (currently 4-MHz, from 88 to 92 MHz) noncommercial
portion of the FM band, relocation of all LPFMs out of the existing FM
band, and relocation of all AM stations from the current AM band. The
relocated AM stations would have to broadcast digital signals only and
the committee notes that some AMs might want to retain their existing
analog facilities as well. I suspect that the suggestion that AMs
would have to broadcast only digital signals on the new band is an
attempt to mollify the NAB, which, if it has not done so already, is
expected to voice strong opposition to the proposal because it would
disturb the status quo, in which NAB members have a major vested
interest. Requiring the relocated AMs to broadcast purely digital
signals in the new band would delay their impact on existing FM
stations because the proliferation of new digital receivers would take
longer than the proliferation of new FM receivers that could provide
reception of analog signals in the expanded FM band.

The people in the BMC are either all engineers or mainly engineers.
They are not newcomers to broadcasting. I recognize the names of
people who have worked in the field for decades. Because of their long
experience, they are presumably familiar with FCC and
broadcast-industry politics. If that's so, they have no illusions
about the difficulty of getting approval to implement what appears to
be a logical and carefully thought-out proposal. Generally, where the
FCC is involved, the day is carried by bureaucrats and business moguls
who believe that a stroke of the pen can overrule the laws of physics.
The report I looked at makes much of the idea that the changes would
take place over time. But I am skeptcal that much, if any, headway can
be made in the lifetime of the present committee members. I think it
is more likely that the discussion will become largely irrelevant
because of the demise of the AM band or maybe even the demise of all
over-the-air terrestrial radio before any actual rule-making based on
the BMC proposal takes place.

Dan Strassberg (
eFax 1-707-215-6367

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "A. Joseph Ross" <>
To: <>
Cc: "boston Radio Group" <>
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 1:31 AM
Subject: Re: BMC's AM Migration Plan

> On 23 Sep 2008 at 1:13, Robert F. Sutherland wrote:
>> "The next 100 channels (77.0 to 86.9 MHz) would be used to migrate
>> AM
>> stations to the proposed FM new EXB band channels, where they would
>> operate in digital mode."
> Who's BMC?  To me, BMC means the Boston Municipal Court.
> -- 
> A. Joseph Ross, J.D.                           617.367.0468
> 92 State Street, Suite 700                   Fax 617.507.7856
> Boston, MA 02109-2004          

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