Think of it as a different kind of holiday window. The Federal Communications Commission announced the opening of a new window for the filing of FM translator new station construction permit applications from Dec. 1 through Dec. 21.
This new window will give 844 AM stations the chance to formally file applications for new FM translator construction as well as make minor modifications. Some applications may be granted as soon as the end of this year, said one industry attorney.
This window is only open for some — those applicants that participated in the Auction 99 filing window that occurred July 26 through Aug. 2, 2017. The Media Bureau staff identified mutually exclusive singleton Tech Box proposals — those that will not cause interference to any other translator applicant — and are now asking those 844 applicants to head into the FCC’s Consolidated Database System online electronic filing system and finalize the long-form Form 349 application.
The long-form 349 requests more certifications and technical information than that could be submitted during the initial filing window.
In this long-form application, an applicant may make minor modifications to the engineering data it submitted in its original Tech Box proposal. This can include changes to power, height, directional patterns and channel that are defined as “minor changes” by the FCC. Be aware that the Form 349 long-form application must not create a new conflict to any pending Auction 99 Tech Box proposal, or to any previously filed Form 349 application.
Each applicant must now:
- Submit a complete Form 349 by Dec 21 for each of its listed Tech Box proposals, and submit all fees
- Pay close attention to the deadline — applications filed before Dec. 1 or after Dec. 21 will be dismissed outright
Attorney David Oxenford wrote on his Broadcast Law Blog that after the long-form application is submitted to the FCC and the application is published in an upcoming Public Notice announcement, others will have 15 days to comment or object.
“If no comments are filed, and no other issues arise, the FCC’s Audio Division is known for its speed in processing translator applications so that grants might be expected for many of the applications late this year or early next,” he wrote.