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FCC Sets More Details For AM Translator Filing Period

FCC Federal Communications Commission RadioInsight Premium ReportThe FCC has released the full rulemaking for the upcoming filing period for new FM translators to rebroadcast Class C & D AM stations that did not participate in the 250 mile waiver period.

The filing window will only be open for one week; from July 26 through August 2. All mutually exclusive filings will be able to be rectified via settlement or amendment first before opening Auction 99 to resolve them through bidding.

To prepare for the filing window no LPFM, translator, or FM booster minor change applications will be accepted from July 19 through August 2. The full rulemaking can be read here.

Original Report 6/1: The FCC announced today that the first filing window for new translators attached to Class C & D AM stations that did not participate in the 250 mile waiver period will open on Monday, July 26.

After the filing window closes any mutually exclusive applications that are not resolved by moving to another frequency or other settlement will be resolved via auction. Following the auction a second filing window will be opened up for Class A & B stations later in 2017 or 2018.

If a station participated in the 2016 waiver period to move a translator up to 250 miles they are not allowed to participate in this filing window.

Since the adoption and release of the Notice of Proposed Rule Making in the AM Revitalization proceeding in October 2013, we have acted to assist AM broadcasters in providing their communities and listeners with news, information, and other local and national programming. To that end, in 2016 the Commission opened two FM translator modification filing windows, allowing AM broadcasters to relocate FM translator stations in order to enhance their local service. This past February, we relaxed the rule prescribing where such “cross-service” FM translators could be located. Over a thousand AM broadcasters took advantage of these opportunities, and Commission staff has worked diligently to grant these applications, where appropriate.

Today, we announce the next step in the AM revitalization efforts that began in the Commission’s 2015 First Report and Order. Starting on July 26, 2017, we will open an auction filing window to allow the licensees of Class C and D AM stations–those having the least power and/or the most limited (or nonexistent) nighttime service, and which did not participate in either of the 2016 modification windows-to file applications to establish new FM translator stations to re-transmit their signals on a full time basis. After the first window applicants have had an opportunity to resolve their mutual exclusivities through settlement or technical amendment, we will announce the dates of the second new FM translator auction filing window, which will be open to any AM station licensee that did not participate in either of the 2016 translator modification windows or the first new FM translator auction filing window. This filing window also will be followed by a settlement/technical resolution period. As required by the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, we will use competitive bidding to resolve any remaining mutually exclusive application groups from these auction windows.

The Media Bureau and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau will jointly release a Public Notice shortly, containing instructions and detailed information regarding application filing and processing procedures. Future Public Notices will seek comment on auction procedures and provide additional information for auction filing window applicants.

We look forward to the opening of the new FM translator auction filing windows for crossservice translators rebroadcasting AM stations, as we continue to consider and implement further means by which to improve and preserve the vitally important AM broadcast service.

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Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

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