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AM Translator Window Opens With a Flurry

Hundreds of applications filed in first FM translator modification window

Applicants by the hundreds have jumped at the opportunity to participate in the Federal Communication Commission’s first FM translator modification window — almost one in 10 AM stations in the country applied for an FM translator in the first 24 hours.

As we write, more than 450 FM translator modification applications had been filed, and this is a moving target, to be sure, as applicants are continuing to file.

On Friday, the commission opened the first of two application-filing windows that are designed to help AM broadcasters seeking to relocate an FM translator station. This one is open through July 28.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai issued a statement today saying the first 24 hours of this window illustrates that the AM revitalization process is off to “an incredibly strong start.”

“In the first day alone, we received over 400 applications from AM stations. These FM translators will help struggling AM broadcasters increase their audience and advertising revenue,” Pai wrote. “They will also be a short-term bridge as we address the AM band’s long-term technical problems.”

For stations searching for eligible translator stations and available frequencies, the commission’s translator search tool allows an AM licensee to input preferred relocation sites at or near its AM transmitter site. A secondary tool will ID channels that are tentatively available for use by FM translators at any location. Ready to apply? Start by filing FCC Form 349 (PDF) as a “minor modification” application.

The rush of applicants was no doubt due in part to the first-come-first-served rule. Any applicants filed for the same channel on the same day are considered mutually exclusive, and MX applications must be resolved through the FCC’s existing settlement or technical amendments processes.