FCC Asks for Comment Concerning Continued Operation of Channel 6 Station Supplementary Service on 87.7 FM

Submitted by Todd Urick on Tue, 06/07/2022 - 15:16

On June 7 the FCC released a Fifth Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning operation of FM stations on 87.7 FM by Low Power Television Channel 6 stations.  The television channel 6 occupies an area from 82-88 MHz, for which the audio part of the analog television signal occupied 87.7 FM.  Upon digital television transition, this technical anomaly was supposed to disappear, however certain Channel 6 licensees asked the FCC to tack an additional analog FM service to the side of their digital television service under the guise that it is a digital supplementary service.  This request was in the form of a Engineering Special Temporary Authority request.  The FCC has granted multiple Engineering STAs for this service, although the term for the request of operation only last six months at a time and must be renewed.  The FCC's Notice asks the public whether they should codify this special service in the rules for a select number of broadcasters that have already requested STAs.  These Channel 6 licensees lease the 87.7 FM airtime to whomever is willing to pay for the air time.

The FCC is also asking whether it should open 82-88 MHz for extended analog FM broadcasting (like that of FM radio).  This might afford opportunity for more FM broadcasting nationwide, although broadcast equipment is not currently sold in the US for accessing these channels as analog FM broadcasts.  Some type of band expansion device would need to be sold.

The FCC is asking for comments concerning the Notice (located here) are due July 18 by midnight Eastern Time, with reply comments due two weeks later.  Comments can be submitted via FCC ECFS.