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FCC to Consider New Licensing Rules for LPFM/Noncom Stations

Desires to make it easier and less burdensome for prospective licensees

The Federal Communications Commission is ready to move on a new Report and Order that would make changes to the rules and processes surrounding licensing for LPFMs and noncom stations.

At its December meeting, the commission plans to consider an R&O that would tweak the licensing process for low-power FMs and noncommercial educational stations and build upon lessons learned from the most recent NCE and LPFM filing windows, said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a recent blog.

[Read: FCC Hopes to Streamline NCE Selection Rules]

“[The changes] are designed to improve our comparative selection and licensing procedures, expedite the initiation of new service to the public, eliminate unnecessary applicant burdens, and reduce the number of appeals of our NCE comparative licensing decisions,” Pai said.

The media item, part of Media Bureau Docket Number 19-3, is the next step in the commission’s ongoing efforts to reexamine licensing procedures for noncommercial education and low-power FM stations. The commission most recently tackled the issue in February 2019 when it adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the same issue in an effort to improve the rules and procedures to select and license competing applications for new noncommercial educational broadcast stations and LPFM stations.

At that time, many commenters called for changes that would streamline improvements to FCC’s point award criteria, mandatory time sharing rules and tie breaking criteria.

The Report & Order is up for discussion at the FCC’s December Open Meeting on Dec. 12.