Between now and next Tuesday, July 15th, you have the opportunity to make your voice heard, regarding the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC's) plan to expand the FM dial (worry about expanded receivers and such later). It's not just a question of if the FCC should allow expansion, but how expansion is delegated.
Here is the FCC file number for your comments: FCC: MB Docket 07-294 ....., and the FCC website.
Consider this amazing fact: you will not hear about this proposal over the existing airwaves; existing broadcasters have conveniently left this potentially ground-breaking action alone; no public service announcements here!
This is what is happening: The FCC is pondering a 20 channel expansion once TV channels 5 and 6 convert to digital broadcasting and vacate the channels 5 and 6 FM frequencies (68 to 88 FM). An expansion of the FM band could(with appropriate and plentiful public input) enable more community groups to start radio stations across the country.
Along Colorado's Front Range, expansion could have a direct positive bearing on an existing problem for public radio listeners. Even a slight expansion of the dial -- say down to 87.7 FM (where most current FM receivers are currently able to pick-up Channel 6 audio) will enable KVOD at 88.1 to move down to 87.9 or 87.7, enabling Colorado Public Radio to file for a substantial power gain.
Currently KVOD is limited to a power increase of only a few hundred watts, which will not enable it to reach much beyond listeners residing in the "303" area code. The 88.1 signal from Denver is also blocked in Fort Collins-Loveland-Greeley by KLHV, Fort Collins at 88.3 FM. Re-locating down the dial, just slightly, will make everyone happy. This is a classic example to site in your comments to the FCC.
Please make your voice heard BEFORE July 15, 2008! As for expanding FM tuners, in order to pick up new frequencies from the proposed expansion, one solution would be for Congress to require FM radio manufacturers to include the new FM frequencies on new FM tuners; much the way Congress passed a requirement in the 1960's, requiring TV manufacturers to include UHF channels on new TV tuners. Whatever it takes!
The important item right now requires your participation, and you comments regarding what you would like to see happen. Don't let this opportunity slip away! The airwaves are public -- we own them!