Applicants who have waited more than 15 years for word on the status of their commercial FM translator construction permit may soon have an answer.
The Federal Communications Commission has finally set up a date by which applicants can actively participate in Auction 83. The date is set for June 21, 2018.
This auction is designed to resolve groups of mutually exclusive — AKA MX — applications for those who applied in a 2003 auction filing window for a new commercial FM translator station in the nonreserved band (Channels 221 to 300), as well as to make major modifications to authorized FM translator facilities.
In March of this year, the two bureaus involved in this auction — the Media Bureau and the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau — finally provided a list of all applications received during the filing window that were mutually exclusive with other applications submitted in the original window. In 2014, applicants who were mutually exclusive were given the first chance to eliminate their mutual exclusivity with other applicants by settlement or technical modification.
And now, the bureaus will begin the auction process with the remaining 43 MX groups. A list of the locations and channels of these proposed stations can be found here. In addition to the names of the applicants, the list also determines the minimum opening bid and upfront payment amount required for each construction permit.
Consider that a permit for a spot in Macon, Ga., has a minimum opening bid and upfront payment of $3,500 for the two mutually exclusive applicants who can bid for it. Price-wise, that’s in the mid-range when compared to a permit with a minimum opening bid of $10,000 in Bossier City/Shreveport, La. There are also a fair number of permits with a $750 opening bid amount.
The Public Notice that the FCC recently released offers a relatively lengthy set of rules and procedures for the upcoming auction. The rules dictate the terms of the auction, the application process and the payment hoops one needs to jump through to participate.
First to know: To become qualified to place a bid, an Auction 83 applicant must submit an updated FCC Form 175 application (also known in commission parlance as a short-form application) and submit an upfront payment for the permit in question. The FCC set a 10-day window starting April 16 for applicants to review/update that short-form application.
An applicant will get the green light to go ahead and bid if it properly submits that short-form application and it submits an upfront payment for at least one of the permits for which it is designated as an applicant.
Be aware that no more than one construction permit will be awarded for each MX group identified in the list. And the commission has laid out specific guidance for applicants, stressing that they must be familiar with the commission’s competitive bidding rules and the procedures contained in the Auction 83 Public Notice.