IHeartMedia defends Class A AM.

iheart-amsFCC officials met with iHeartMedia representatives last week to talk about AM revitalization. A letter from iHeartMedia recapping the meeting notes that the media company told the Commission staffers that reduction of skywave interference protection to Class A AM stations could mean a loss of up to 600,000 listeners and over 3 million hours of listening per week. In driving home the point, iHeartMedia Executive Vice President/Engineering and Systems Integration Jeff Littlejohn said that Class A stations have “quality and expensive full-service programming content, such as significant news production and sports programming combined with reliable coverage.” IHeartMedia also asked that the FM translator filing window extend to all AM stations, because all AM classes have coverage issues; on AM all-digital proposals, they warned the trials are showing possible increased interference, besides which only a very small percentage—3% of all radios and 10-15% of car radios—can receive digital signals at all.