Translators were originally intended to allow stations with weak FM signals to boost their coverage areas in places where terrain, buildings or other conditions made them difficult to receive.

Over the past decade, an increasing number of translators have popped up that rebroadcast stations from far away. Many of these are operated in “daisy-chain” fashion as FM networks for big religious broadcasters like Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls, Idaho, and the Educational Media Foundation.

Four years ago, groups like EMF filed applications for more than 13,000 translators, including several in the Pittsburgh area.

The request was approved as the FCC considers changing the translator rules to allow other AM “daytimers” access to the FM band.

Though endorsed by many station owners and the National Association of Broadcasters, the plan is disliked by some FM station owners who fear more translators will “clutter” the band and make it unusable. Supporters of low-power FM stations, which potentially could take some of the same slots being filled by translators, also oppose the idea.

According to the website American Bandscan, other AM stations with FM translators include WDXY in Sumter, S.C., WGNS in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and WRHI in Rock Hill, S.C.

WANB, owned by Greensburg-based Broadcast Communications Inc., already has an FM sister station, but that outlet has received FCC approval to boost its power and change its city of license to Mt. Pleasant, Westmoreland County.

Editor’s Note: In the interest of full disclosure, both the editor and this PBRTV writer are employed part-time by Broadcast Communications Inc.


No April Fool’s joke: The Federal Communications Commission has granted Waynesburg’s WANB (1580) permission to simulcast its programming over an FM translator.

Last month, the commission granted special temporary authority to the 720-watt, daytime-only station to broadcast on 105.1 mHz, 24 hours per day.

It’s not the first time the FCC has granted such a temporary waiver, though they are rare.