The Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

AM Improvement Can Start with the Noise Floor

[November 2016] Whether you call it AM Revitalization or AM Improvement, many folks feel the emphasis should be on AM. Although the FCC actions so far have largely consisted of allowing FM translators to move hundreds of miles and be paired with AM stations, there is more going on.

Among other initiatives, the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology has arranged for a Technological Advisory Council (TAC) to meet and develop information and approaches for a Noise Floor Technical Inquiry. An outgrowth of the TAC is Docket 16-191, which the FCC has recently extended indefinitely.

Although the Docket remains open, the FCC wants to formulate goals during 2017, according to one of the panel members, Tom King, President of Kintronic Labs, Inc. King and other respected broadcast engineers like Geoff Mendenhall and Gary Cavell have been meeting and spreading the word.

It Affects All of Us

King pointed out that broadband noise affects the entire broadcast industry, AM, FM, and TV. And unless something is done, it will only get worse.

Among the options the FCC has, according to King, is to pay more attention to Parts 15 and 19, and enforce existing rules.

Manufacturers of products that create excessive noise can be put on notice – or even fined.

While some observers feel that too much manmade RF already has become part of life and cannot be stopped, there have been 100 comments and suggestions filed with the FCC. Also, the TAC and other groups, such as the NRSC, are putting forth ideas such as synchronizing all AM stations

A Powerpoint Presentation

Recently, Tom King delivered a presentation to the IEEE on the subject.

King’s PowerPoint presentation is located here.

The full FCC Public Notice is located here.

Your Thoughts

You are invited to share in this discussion. Can the AM noise floor be improved?

If you want to make your comments on the FCC record, go here and then click on “Submit a Filing” at the top of the screen and enter the Docket number: “16-191” in the “Proceeding” field on the next page. You are also welcome – actually encouraged – to share your thoughts here on the BDR.

Please send your comments to us at: and check back here