WLDS sign-on, sign-off times could stay consistent with FCC ruling

By Gary Scott on March 16, 2016 at 1:44pm

One of the radio stations at Jacksonville Area Radio Broadcasting is asking for the public’s help with the consideration of a proposal by the Federal Communications Commission.

WLDS 1180 AM would be impacted if the FCC allows stations dictated by signing on at sunrise and signing off at sunset to operate at lower power during hours when it’s dark.

Radio station general manager Gary Scott says he’s personally written to the FCC, and is asking listeners to get involved by telling the regulatory authority why they want to see the change made.

For an example of how extended sign-on hours would be beneficial, Scott says you don’t have to look any farther than last night, during severe weather.

“Here we are- you were out here, I was out here, we were doing reports on the weather, and it happened right as we were signing off on AM. If we had the lower power, then we could continue to broadcast, put out the necessary information to our listeners on WLDS at that point, and I think that’s the biggest thing. We need to serve the public, and the way we serve the public is being on the air. Even if it’s reduced power, that’s being on the air and serving the public,” he says.

Scott says WLDS has had the changing sign-on and sign-off times since our station signed on originally in 1941.

“We signed on, we were on 1180, and that’s one of the clear channels, which means you can have the most power you can have- 50,000 watts- on AM, and it’s WHAM out of Rochester [New York]. They’re not the only ones, they’re not the ‘bad person’ in this whole mixture, there are other stations on that frequency that have higher power than WLDS that complain when we broadcast beyond our broadcast hours,” says Scott.

“And we’re probably responding, and the FCC is responding more to them than WHAM. We’ve been told in the past by WHAM that they don’t care if we broadcast beyond our normal hours or not.”

The deadline to submit online comments is the end of business on Monday. You can view the link to the FCC website on this story on WLDS/WEAI.com, enter 13-249 on the “Proceeding Number” category, and then enter your information, along with any comments in document form.