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FCC Is Ready for LPFM Filings

“Hundreds” of groups have begun the LPFM application process, says FCC

The FCC is confident the agency can open the application window for new low-power FM stations on time.

FCC Audio Division Deputy Chief of Engineering Jim Bradshaw said at today’s commission meeting that the division has processed thousands of FM translator filings over the past few months. The end result could be the authorization of some 1,700 new FM translators in 2013, he said, a 33% increase over the current number.

The agency needed to clear the decks of more than 13,000 FM translator applications filed in Auction 83 as part of its focus on preparing to open another application window for low-power FMs.

Bradshaw described the “clashing” goals of processing those FM translator applications while, at the same time, leaving enough spectrum room for new LPFMs. The division identified 700 “singletons,” meaning FM translator applications where there’s no competing interest, in February. The commission received “dozens” of settlement agreements and dismissal requests. Of the 6, 350 Auction 83 FM translator applications, only eight remain unprocessed, he said.

The FCC’s Parul Desai said the dismissal of some 4,000 Auction 83 FM translator proposals cleared space for new LPFMs and “hundreds” of LPFM applicants have begun the application process. The commission has taken a number of steps to help applicants through the process, she said.

The FCC plans to open an LPFM application window on Oct. 15.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai is “optimistic that we will have a successful LPFM filing window.” He encouraged community organizations to take advantage of the opportunity.

Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn said she’s “thrilled” the commission is posed to open the window. “We don’t know today whether 1,000 or 10,000 applications will be filed in the LPFM window, but we must be prepared either way.”

Today’s presentation was an update on the commission’s LPFM plans. What was not discussed was how the plans might be affected should the federal government shutdown next week.