Engineer Presses FCC to Widen Translator Applicant Pool

Petition submitted prior to the opening of the first cross-service FM translator window in 2017
Author:
Publish date:

A radio station owner and engineer has asked the Federal Communications Commission to reconsider who gets a green light to apply for an FM translator.

Engineer Edward A. Schober petitioned the FCC to reconsider rules that govern who can apply for a cross-service FM translator. Schober is asking that eligibility be widened for the soon-to-be-opened cross-service FM translator auction filing window for AM broadcasters (that window is to be open July 26 through Aug. 2). In addition, Schober requested that the FCC consider accepting applications for the second 2017 Auction Window from any AM station that filed in the 2016 modification window — assuming that their application does not conflict with any application filed by a station that did not use the 2016 modification window.

According to his petition, Schober said that the July 26 window be extended to an additional eight classes of AM licensees who may have applied to move FM translators in either of the two 2016 windows.

Schober said the FCC has unfairly limited eligibility to some AM stations. While he agrees that limiting access to the window can ensure that a new batch of AM stations are able to take advantage of this opportunity, the blanket nature of the FCC’s current eligibility rules “unfortunately is unfair to certain licensees who applied in the previous windows.”

Instead, Schober requests the FCC reconsider the eligibility limitations, and suggested that if a station meets the following eligibility requirements they should still be able to submit an application to the upcoming window.

● Applicants who filed applications that were defective, conflicting or otherwise not grantable and were dismissed, and no modification was granted
● Applicants whose applications were dismissed to resolve application conflicts
● Applicants who lost at auction
● Applicants whose licenses were granted but silenced due to interference (Conditioned on returning the outstanding license)
● Applicants whose licenses were granted but silenced due to changes in full-power FM stations (Conditioned on returning the outstanding license)
● Applicants whose licenses were substantially limited (reduced power or height) due to interference or changes in full-power FM stations (Conditioned on returning the outstanding license)
● Applicants whose construction permit remains tolling due to environmental issues, local approvals, unresolved petitions or informal objections (Conditioned on return of the outstanding construction permit)
● Applicants whose construction permit or underlying construction permit expired while awaiting approval of federal, state or local government action

According to Schober, these applicants were either simply unsuccessful in the process of acquiring and moving an FM translator to their AM signal, or were stymied by bureaucratic delays in resolving missteps.

Schober also requests that the FCC consider another set of applications in the second 2017 Auction Window. Any AM station that filed in the 2016 modification windows should be allowed to apply in the second 2017 window — on the condition that their application does not conflict with one filed by a station that did not use the 2016 modification window.

“Many rural stations would highly benefit from translators in more than one village, and denying them the opportunity to provide this service seems shortsighted, particularly when the AM station covers a wide area, and the village may have several frequencies available, but is too small to support a station of its own,” he said.

Schober is an engineer with New Jersey firm Radiotechniques Engineering, a member of several organizations that own AM and translator stations, the sole owner of an AM station and FM translator in Pennsylvania, and auction winner for a new AM station in that same state.

“This long awaited window is great, but it cuts a few AM stations out of the mix that should be able to get a bite of the apple,” Schober told Radio World.

Related