After nearly a decade, the FAA advises that it is no longer pursuing a proposal that would have inserted it deeply into the regulation of FM stations.
This is highly significant. If you have ever been involved in proposing a new tower anywhere, especially one over 200′ or any height near an airport, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
For years, the Federal Aviation Administration has toyed with the idea of regulating use of some portions of the spectrum – including particularly the FM band (approximately 88 MHz–108 MHz) – even though conventional wisdom says that such matters are statutorily (not to mention logically) controlled by the Federal Communications Commission. The FAA backed down from these aspirations to some degree in 2010, but in doing so it sniffed, in effect, that we all hadn’t heard the last from it on this point.
Now, five years later, the FAA appears to have thrown in the towel. In a three-sentence letter to the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology, the FAA has advised that it is “no longer pursuing the proposed frequency notification requirements for FM radio stations” which it has long had its regulatory eye on.
Ideally, this means that the FAA has finally abandoned any hope of affirmatively regulating FM radio transmission facilities.
Does this mean that the decades old turf war between the FAA and FCC is over? Not exactly. Does this mean that the FAA never needs to be notified about how much power and what frequencies are going to broadcast from a new tower? Not really. It’s a long story.