At its Open Meeting on Tuesday October 27th, the U.S. FCC made it official and passed a rule change allowing AM stations to switch to all-digital broadcasting on a voluntary basis.
The order allows AM stations to go all-digital if they wish, and requires stations opting to take advantage of the change to provide at least one free over-the-air digital programming stream “comparable to or better in audio quality than a standard analog broadcast”. Stations will need to wait 30 days before making the switch to allow for notice to the Commission, other stations, and the public.
NAB Pres./CEO Gordon Smith said, “We applaud the FCC for approving this order allowing AM radio stations to voluntarily transition to all-digital service. The order provides AM stations with essential flexibility to provide interference-free broadcasts and attract new listeners. Radio broadcasters are grateful to Chairman PAI for championing AM radio during his tenure at the FCC and thank him for successfully implementing policies to help revitalise AM stations.”