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Doyle: Clarity Soon for Pending FM Applicants

Lake says bureau wants to get going on media ownership proceeding

The FM translator/LPFM issue is getting a lot of attention here in Las Vegas.

The FCC’s Media Bureau intends to issue a notice next week that should shine a light on how the commission determined how many FM translators and LPFMs can be in markets that that are “spectrum-challenged,” as well as those areas that have enough spectrum for both services.

That’s what Media Bureau Chief Peter Doyle told attorneys attending a late afternoon session on Tuesday. Consulting engineers will have access to software and other information so they can identify potential channel combinations in those markets, he told Radio World afterwards.

Doyle referred to 6,500 pending FM translator applications. The idea is to give “everyone clarity so they can figure out which ones to focus on,” he told Radio World.

The commission indicated with its March notices on LPFMs and FM translators that many translator applications in spectrum-squeezed markets would be dismissed in order to create opportunities to license new LPFMs. Melodie Virtue of Garvey Schubert Barer said during a morning regulatory session that of the 6,500 pending FM translator applications, about 1,000 would be eligible for grant and the others would be dismissed according to the agency’s new processing guidelines.

The commission has also capped at 50 the number of translator applications it will process for one licensee nationally, and imposed a market-based cap of one application per applicant for some 156 markets. The FCC will issue a public notice announcing a deadline by which applicants must select which FM translator applications they’d want to have processed that fit within the caps.

In other FCC news, Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake said during a Tuesday morning session the commission is eager to get on with the media ownership proceeding and not drag it out until after the election. NAB filed reply comments on the issue Tuesday.