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In re Application of STORER BROADCASTING CO., DETROIT, MICH. (WJBK) For License To Cover Permit

Authorizing the Construction of Improved Facilities




12 F.C.C.2d 282; 12 Rad. Reg. 2d (P & F) 815




March 27, 1968 Adopted









    [*282]  1.  For consideration is the above-captioned application looking toward issuance of program test authority to radio station WJBK, Detroit, Mich. (Storer), covering the nighttime portion of a construction permit (BP-14275, as modified), granted in 1963 after evidentiary hearing (docket No. 14294); formal objections thereto, filed December 18, 1967, on behalf of radio station WTOP, Washington, D.C., and responsive pleadings and correspondence.


   2.  WJBK (Storer) is a class II station presently operating unlimited time on 1500 kHz with a power of 10 kw day and 1 kw night.  The outstanding construction permit authorized an increase in daytime power to 50 kw and a nighttime power increase to 5 kw, utilizing different directional antenna systems day and night (DA-2).  WTOP's objections are addressed solely to Storer's nighttime operation, construction and equipment testing for which was completed November 20, 1967. n1


   n1 A partial program test authorization covering the 50-kw daytime portion of BP-14275 was issued by the Commission on Nov. 23, 1965, and was contested neither by WTOP nor by the other class I-B assignment on 1500 kHz (KSTP, St. Paul, Minn.).


   3.  Storer's construction permit contains 10 technical conditions related to the stability and other operating characteristics of the proposed nighttime directional antenna pattern.  A further special condition was included to the effect that, before program tests could be authorized, Storer would seek modification of the construction permit to reflect maximum expected operating values (MEOV's) consistent with the conditions thus imposed.  This requirement has been satisfied and is not here at issue.


   4.  Against this background, WTOP now alleges that Storer's proof of performance for the nighttime array is deficient, in terms of demonstrating the required degree of signal suppression toward the service area of station WTOP. This question raises the possibility of  [*283]  objectionable interference, and thereby confers standing on WTOP as a party in interest -- NBC (KOA) v. FCC, 132 F. 2d 545 (1942), affd. 319 U.S. 239 (1943). WTOP's objections, and our findings with respect thereto, are summarized below.


   5.  First, WTOP points to Storer's failure to make 30-40 field intensity measurements along each radial at locations previously measured in the 1956 WJBK proof-of-performance, as specified by the outstanding construction permit.  Although the current proof-of-performance is essentially similar to that filed in 1956, it must be conceded that Storer has not literally satisfied this condition.  However, we view WTOP's position as unrealistic, in that Storer has inspected all locations where measurements were made in 1956 and has, in fact, made measurements at all such locations still accessible and suitable as measuring points.  We note that Storer has expended considerable time and effort in selecting locations where good measurements may be made.  Although measurements were made at fewer than the number of comparable locations used in 1956 (19-31, as against 31-46), measurements at additional locations within the limited span of distance along each radial where measurements are feasible, in order to satisfy the letter of the condition, would not necessarily have improved the analysis or validity of the proof-of-performance submitted.


   6.  While it is generally true that the usefulness of measurement data is related to the number of locations measured, it is also affected by the suitability of each measurement location selected and the reliability of measurements made at each location.  In minimizing the latter considerations, it would appear that WTOP has placed undue emphasis on the number of measurements supporting the 1967 proof.  We find Storer's selective omission and substitution of measurement locations to have been dictated by environmental changes in the area since 1956, and that the current proof satisfies the intent of the condition in question.


   7.  Next, WTOP contends that Storer's field strength measurements made in deep null areas show a number of variations above and below the indicated average value, with a large number of measurements exceeding the inverse-distance filed strength determination.  In anticipation of problems of analyzing measurements made at close ranges from the directional antenna system, Storer's construction permit was conditioned to require that such measurements be evaluated for proximity effects.  Appendix C of Storer's 1967 proof entitled "Proximity Studies" shows that the computed field intensities in protected directions at distances close to the array indicate a higher than expected inverse-distance field from the array.  A like study was submitted with the 1956 proof, which exhibited similar characteristics.  Moreover, variations above and below the indicated average are common to both the 1967 and 1956 proofs.  The average value was arrived at by Storer using the "logarithmic method" in 1956, and this method was also used in connection with the 1967 proof.  Our analysis of the proximity effects agrees with Storer's findings.


   8.  WTOP also claims that the radiated fields along certain critical azimuths, notably 122 degree True, are substantially higher than the values [*284]  as analyzed by Storer, and also exceed the values specified in the outstanding construction permit.  WTOP bases this determination on a ratio comparison of directional measurements made at or near the same locations as reported in the 1967 and 1956 proofs.  Specifically, WTOP finds the average ratio (0.72/0.45) of the 1967 to 1956 directional measurements to be about 60 percent higher than that based on the ratio of the inverse-distance fields set forth in the respective proof reports, with due allowance for differences in conductivity.


   9.  The WTOP determination of the inverse-distance field by rationing the respective directional measurements, where the greater numbers of measurements were made at close ranges to the respective arrays, does not take into account any change in proximity effects between the 1967 12-tower array and the 1956 eight-tower array and changes which have taken place since 1956 at the various points measured.  Therefore, we must rely upon the more recent measurements made in 1967 to establish present antenna performance. Accordingly, the WTOP finding of an inverse-distance field of 16 mv/m, which exceeds the 11-mv/m maximum specified in the construction permit, is not justified.


   10.  Finally, WTOP questions Storer's assessment of variation effects due to anticipated changes in array parameters, concluding that it does not "indicate clearly that the inverse-distance field strength at 1 mile can be maintained within the MEOV * * * specified in the radiation pattern." More precisely, WTOP asserts that Storer's study of anticipated variations in the phase and magnitude of current in the individual towers of the 12-element directional antenna system do not provide sufficient information as to variation effects of operating parameters.


   11.  The construction permit issued Storer did not require the submission of a study based on variations of the operating parameters of Storer's 12-element array.  However, a study was carried out on Storer's eight-element array to determine the effect of variations in the antenna parameters on the theoretical radiation in the direction of 122 degree True (toward WTOP) as well as in the direction of 287 degree True (toward KSTP).  The decision granting the outstanding construction permit expressly stated that "the experience derived from WJBK's existing operation with an eight-element array may be relied upon as an indication of the reliability and response which may be expected from the 12-element array." Paragraph 52, Initial Decision (FCC 63D-26).  We did not intend that this statement be interpreted as requiring Storer to make a similar study on the 12-element array.


   12.  The anticipated variations in phase and magnitude of current in the individual towers are related to the construction permit condition requiring "maintenance of the phase of the currents and relative current in the several elements of the nighttime directional antenna system within plus or minus 0.25 degrees and plus or minus 0.4 percent of the assigned value." Our studies indicate that the construction permit limitations on radiation will not be exceeded where the variations in phase and magnitude of current in the individual towers fall within the parameter variations stated above.  Storer's study demonstrates that the median resultant field at the most critical angle (122 degree  [*285]  True, on the direct bearing toward WTOP) will not exceed the specified MEOV of 11 mv/m, if the phase does not vary more than plus or minus 1 degree from the values established in the 1967 proof and the current ratios do not vary more than plus or minus 1.75 percent from those established in the 1967 proof.


   13.  We conclude that the limits specified in the construction permit regarding maintenance of phase and magnitude of current in the individual towers are adequate to assure the required degree of nighttime protection to WTOP, and that Storer's data satisfies construction permit requirements in this crucial respect.


   14.  As in other cases of this type, the information submitted was examined for the purpose of determining if the operation complies with the terms of the applicable construction permit.  Storer's 1963 construction permit, BP-14275 as modified, is the proper reference basis for making this determination, and on the information before us we conclude that Storer's nighttime proof-of-performance is in substantial compliance with the terms of this construction permit.  However, we also recognize and stress Storer's continuing responsibility to assure that the operation of WJBK's directional antenna system will be maintained within prescribed tolerances.


   Accordingly, it is ordered, That the objections of Post-Newsweek Stations, Capitol Area, Inc. (WTOP), Are denied.











   (In re Application of Storer Broadcasting Co. * * *)


   (AM Interference)


   The two AM radio stations involved in this case, WTOP and WJBK, operate on 1500 kc.  WTOP is in Washington, D.C.; WJBK is in Detroit.  WJBK wants to put out a more powerful signal at night -- an increase from 1,000 w to 5,000 w. WTOP (which now operates with 50 kw at night) says WJBK's increase in power will cause more interference to WTOP's nighttime signal.


   I will not attempt a detailed discussion of the engineering data and procedures involved in a case of this kind.  It seems to me we need go no further than to listen to our own home and automobile AM radios at night.  The overlapping signals and congestion are a monument to years of decisions like this one -- our definitions of "acceptable interference"; rules that permit interference in the name of "a first service" for a community that may well be a suburb of a metropolitan area with multiple stations; shoehorned stations with "directional" antenna patterns; bootstrapped automatic increases in power once a 250-w daytime station is established; the very definitions of "daytime"; and then the "waiver" or liberal interpretation of the rules that do



   The Commission makes a creative, and in many instances commendable, effort to satisfy as many requests as possible.  The danger, of course, is that our efforts to serve everyone may end up serving no  [*286] one.  And the ultimate irony is that, when substantial numbers of listeners finally give up, and go from AM to FM listening, the very owners creating the signal interference today will be the ones to suffer the greatest financial loss tomorrow.


   I would prefer stricter engineering standards and a higher burden of proving noninterference by those who seek to increase power than the Commission applies in this case and, accordingly,  dissent.


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