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Procedures Are Published for NCE FM Window

Opportunity for new stations is limited to 88.1–91.9

If you plan to seek a new noncommercial educational FM construction permit in the upcoming filing window, be aware that the FCC’s Media Bureau has released procedures and requirements.

The bureau also will put a freeze into effect for certain FM applications starting Oct. 5 until Nov. 9, the close of the week-long filing window.

Remember, this new station opportunity is just for proposals for the FM reserved band, 88.1 to 91.9 MHz. (Read the notice.)

In this window, an applicant can file no more than 10 applications.

The commission reminded first-time applicants that NCE stations are licensed only to non-profit educational organizations, not individuals; that NCE FM new station licensing opportunities are more readily available in rural areas and smaller communities; and that the FCC doesn’t publish a list of “available” frequencies or provide a “channel finder tool” to locate “available” frequencies.

It also pointed out that applicants usually hire legal counsel and broadcast engineering consultants to do frequency searches and help prepare the legal and technical portions of the applications. It noted that the Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers is one available source for such help.

The notice also lays out the system that the FCC uses to analyze “mutually exclusive,” i.e. competing, applications, which is expected to come into play given the general desirability of FM frequencies.

Instructions on using the LMS electronic filing system are also available on the Media Bureau’s LMS Help Center page.