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Commission Lays Out Instructions for AM’s Next Translator Window

Interested stations have a short window starting in late July

Managers of Class C and D AM stations that still want FM translators probably should not take vacation the last week of July.

The Federal Communications Commission has released filing instructions for the upcoming translator filing window, which opens July 26 and ends just a week later, Aug. 2, which is part of its broader and ongoing AM revitalization initiative.

Remember that eligibility this time is limited to a Class C and D AM station licensee or permittee wishing to file an application to establish a new cross-service translator to re-transmit a station signal full time.

An important stipulation is that you cannot have already applied for a cross-service FM translator in either of the 2016 modification windows, which will leave a lot of stations on the sideline.

Note also that the Media Bureau plans a temporary freeze on LPFM/FM translator minor change CP applications and FM booster CP applications, July 19 through Aug. 2.

You can read all the details of the translator window here. Among the main points in that lengthy FCC document:

An applicant may designate any unreserved FM channel (92.1-107.9 MHz) for its proposed FM translator to provide fill-in service.

A licensee or permittee may propose only one translator for each primary station to be rebroadcast. If your AM station was the primary in a modification application filed during one of the 2016 modification windows, it is not eligible this time around.

Any mutually exclusive proposals that can’t be resolved through settlement or technical amendments will go to Auction 99 for competitive bidding. A subsequent public notice will specify a settlement period for resolving MX situations. The main document explains what kind of technical amendments to resolve MX situations will be allowed.

Late or unconfirmed submissions won’t be accepted, but a second filing window open to any AM broadcast licensee or permittee that did not participate in either of the modification windows or in this filing window will be announced at a later date.

You must file Form 349 Tech Box for a permit for each proposed facility, and one Form 175 covering all proposed stations. Applicants controlled by the same person or set of individuals may file multiple short-form applications. File Form 349, “Application for Authority to Construction or Make Changes in an FM Translator or FM Booster Station,” in the Media Bureau’s Consolidated Database System between 12:01 a.m., July 26 and 6 p.m., Aug. 2. Only Section I, the Tech Box of Section III-A and the Section VI Certification must be completed at this time to make mutual exclusivity determinations.

You’ll have to provide a brief description of any partnerships, joint ventures, consortia or agreements, arrangements or understandings relating to translator permits that may be subject to auction.

The rules generally prohibit joint bidding or other arrangements involving auction applicants; each applicant must certify that it has not entered into any joint bidding arrangement except as allowed in limited circumstances.