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FM Minor Change Apps to Be Frozen for Nine Days

Short January lockout is part of process of preparing for Auction 93

For nine days in January, the FCC Media Bureau will not accept FM minor change applications.

The temporary freeze is designed to avoid conflicts between frozen filings and auction proposals, and to “promote a more certain and speedy auction process.”

Jan. 3–Jan. 12 is the filing window for Auction 93 Form 175 applications. The actual auction begins in late March and involves 119 vacant non-reserved band FM allotments.

The FCC said that FM minor change applications, which can now be filed on a first-come first-served basis, must protect the reference coordinates of those allotments.

When auction participants file their application to participate, they may specify preferred site coordinates to protect a possible transmitter site. The January freeze is intended to prevent an existing station from filing for a minor change that would be mutually exclusive with the proposal at that site, “thereby subjecting the minor change application to auction procedures.”

The January freeze includes reserved-band minor change applications to avoid conflicts between these filings and Form 175 folks.

As RW reported, the bureau in late October also announced an immediate freeze on filing of applications to modify vacant non-reserved band FM allotments scheduled for Auction 93, and petitions and counterproposals that propose a change in channel, class, community or reference coordinates for any of the FM allotments involved in the auction. That freeze ends the day after the filing deadline for post-Auction 93 long form applications.