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FCC Will Vote on NCE App Cap

Commission doesn't want a repeat of 2003 translator window experience

The Federal Communications Commission will decide in April whether to cap the number of applications that one entity can submit in the upcoming window for new FM reserved band stations.

As we’ve reported, the commission plans a window for new noncommercial educational FMs this year.

It had indicated that it wanted to cap the number of applications per entity, to avoid any kind of repeat of the 2003 translator window in which it was swamped with 13,000 applications, many from speculative filers.

Now, Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel says that at its April meeting, the commission will vote on a proposed cap of 10.

“Prior experience shows that the 10-application cap strikes the best balance of the commission’s objectives — providing a meaningful opportunity for applicants to file for new NCE FM stations in to expand service while, at the same time, deterring speculative applications and procedural delays,” she wrote in a preview of the meeting agenda.

[Read more about the FCC’s reasoning for a cap.]

The commission has said it is expecting a lot of interest in this window for several reasons: There’s no application filing fee; there are no ownership limits in the reserved band; there has not been a filing window for new NCE FM applications for over a decade; and the commission recently simplified and clarified the rules and procedures including how it treats competing applications.

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