The FCC has been winnowing down the number of pending FM translator applications still pending from Auction 83 and today, it has taken a big step with the eventual goal of having enough spectrum for those translators, as well as new low-power FMs.
The commission has opened a settlement period for those that have competing applications to enter into agreements or otherwise resolve their competing interests with an engineering solution. These so-called “mutually exclusive” applications, listed as “Attachment A,” are subject to the commission’s competitive bidding procedures.
Normally, those who have competed applications can’t communicate with each other, but now they can for this limited period. The competing groups listed in Attachment A include applications specifying locations in both “spectrum limited” and “spectrum available” markets and also locations outside of all markets.
Settlement agreements and primary station specification amendments are due by July 22.
Some of what the commission is doing regarding the pending FM translator apps concerns noncommercial stations.
The commission allowed some applicants in previous auctions to amend their station designations from “NCE” to “commercial.” To be fair, the Media Bureau recently allowed some pending Auction 83 noncommercial FM translator applicants to do the same. “Attachment B” identifies the commercial/NCE status of each applicant as of the close of the April 8–17 deselection filing window.
The commission says “an FM translator applicant that specifies an NCE primary station as of the close of the July 22 settlement period, and is not otherwise subject to a pending settlement agreement or technical resolution, is barred from participating in Auction 83.”
The FCC will return as “unacceptable for filing” any noncommercial FM translator application that remains in conflict with a commercial FM translator application after the settlement window closes. The remaining commercial FM translator apps will be processed in agreement with competitive bidding procedures. For these purposes, any applicant that either proposes to rebroadcast the signal of an NCE primary station, or that selected “NCE” status on their original Form 175 and did not timely file a deselection amendment, will be considered noncommercial educational, according to the agency.
The commission will auction any remaining competing commercial proposals that are not resolved by the parties.