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Filing Window Is Planned for New NCE FMs

Sixty-seven allotments, all above 92.1, are in 30 states

Sixty-seven noncom FM band allotments in more than 30 states are available in a new filing window opened by the Media Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission.

They include allotments as varied as a C3 for Bozeman, Mont., on 95.9; a Class B for Terre Haute, Ind., at 107.5; a C2 for Jackson, Wyo., at 106.7; and a Class A for Charlotte Amalie in the Virgin Islands at 93.1.

The FCC opened the window for applications for noncommercial educational FM new station construction permits for vacant allotments on Channels 221 through 300, the nonreserved FM band (that’s 92.1 to 107.9 MHz), that have been reserved for NCE use.

The window will open on Dec. 11 and close a week later.

Attempts to open more FMs for noncom use have been going on for awhile, and this is the latest step in a process that dates to 1995. The FCC since that time has decided it can reserve a channel in its table of allotments for the use of NCE stations if someone shows that an NCE station cannot use an already reserved channel and would provide needed NCE service to a community. The Media Bureau then opened a window accepting “reservation showings” for 500 or so channels; in response it heard from 129 organizations seeking to reserve 91 vacant FM allotments, and this week’s list of 67 is the result of the commission’s study.

The commission also announced an immediate freeze on the filing of applications to modify reference coordinates of any of the vacant allotments, or petitions and counterproposals that propose a change in them. That freeze ends when the filing window closes. And the Media Bureau also will freeze the filing of FM commercial and NCE minor change applications from 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 25 until they close the window. Both freezes are to let the application process for open allotments go smoothly.

Read the list of allotments here (Excel file). A review of the rules and background is here (PDF).