WASHINGTON � In 2016, the FCC 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, the commission 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. �On June 1st the Commission announced the next step in the AM revitalization efforts that began in the Commission�s 2015 First Report and Order: Starting on July 26, 2017, the Commission 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.
�The notice does not say much more except that there will be another notice coming soon providing more details on the filing process. This notice does not say whether applications will be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis starting with those filed on July 26, or if there will be a longer window during which all applications that are filed will be considered together to determine which applications are �mutually exclusive� (i.e. if they would interfere with each other so that only one can be granted). The Notice did say that the FCC will allow parties with applications that are mutually exclusive to come up with �engineering solutions� � one or both of the applicants can amend their applications to specify a new channel on which to operate to eliminate the mutual exclusivity,� writes David Oxenford in broadcastlawblog.com.�