The low-power advocacy group REC Networks has dropped its objection against WMGG Tampa-St Petersburg (1470) converting to an all-digital signal. “So far, REC is not aware of any interference that is being caused by WMGG’s operation,” says REC Networks founder Michelle Bradley. “If anything, we are seeing many positive comments about the WMGG all-digital operation on social media,” she wrote in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission.
NIA Broadcasting flipped the switch in January, making WMGG an all-digital operation. The move came after the Commission approved a proposal last October giving owners of AM stations the option of powering down their analog transmitters. WMGG is currently simulcasting the regional Mexican format originating on the company’s “Caliente 96.1” WTMP-FM (96.1) and the Tampa-licensed translator W270DU at 101.9 FM. Owner Neal Ardman tells Inside Radio that so far, he has not received any complaints from listeners missing the analog AM signal.
REC Networks says NIA Broadcasting did “jump the gun” by not filing a 30-day advance notice alerting the FCC of the planned change. That is something that is required under the rules adopted by the Commission. It is designed to not only alert listeners that the signal would be vanishing from their analog-only receivers but also alert other stations to the potential for interference.
But Bradley says now that the original 30-day consumer and industry notification periods have passed, some of the issues raised in REC Network’s objection are now moot and there is no reason for the FCC to cancel WMGG’s permission to air a digital-only signal. “It’s time to put this issue to rest and move forward,” she said, adding, “We welcome the new all-digital AM system in support of revitalization of the AM band.”
Meanwhile, NIA Broadcasting is preparing to go all-digital on a second AM in the market. Ardman says they are slated to take delivery next week on a second digital transmitter which they will use to make R&B oldies WTMP (1150) an all-digital station as well. WTMP also simulcasts on a pair of translators – the Egypt Lake, FL-licensed W271DL at 102.1 FM and the St. Petersburg, FL-licensed W248CA at 97.5 FM.