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Is the FCC Reopen for Business?

What next?

This article has been updated.

We have already reported on the FCC’s announcement of a filing deadline suspension. Now with the FCC apparently back at work, what’s next?

During the shutdown a major broadcaster filing deadline of Oct. 1 had been missed and the eagerly anticipated LPFM window, scheduled to open on Oct. 15, was also swept up.

Leo Ashcraft of Nexus Broadcast/LPFM Store, a broadcast consultancy often involved in LPFM issues, said he had successfully filed an LPFM application very early in the morning. He says he has spoken with the FCC and they said the LPFM window is open.

Ashcraft is working with other groups to get an extension of the LPFM window, possibly as late as Nov. 14. He also suggested that it wouldn’t harm anyone to wait a day or two before filing. The LPFM window is open at least until through the 29th, he said.

Sanjay Jolly of the Prometheus Radio Project, another prominent backer of LPFM licensing, said, “We suspect the FCC will take steps in the coming days to redress the obstacles faced by LPFM applicants during the shutdown. The current end date for the window is October 29th, and we would like them to extend it until mid-November at the earliest.” He provided Radio World with a copy of a letter that Prometheus along with REC Networks, Common Frequency and, had sent today to FCC Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn requesting an LPFM filing extension beyond the Oct. 29 deadline.

John Broomall with the Christian Community Broadcasters told Radio World that he had found the FCC website to be up and running and noted (at that time around noon) that more than 50 filings had already been made in the morning. A filing he submitted was accepted. He had also spoken with an FCC staffer and was told too that the LPFM filing window was open.

Wilkinson Barker Knauer’s David Oxenford, writing at BroadcastLawBlog, as of a morning posting, was advocating a wait-and-see attitude. “The commission has published a notice saying that most filing deadlines that fall on or before October 21 remain suspended, and parties with such deadlines should refrain from filing anything with such a deadline until the FCC issues further guidance,” he wrote. 

The NAB’s Dennis Wharton commented, “We’re pleased the FCC and the rest of the government has reopened, and that the FCC website is now functioning.”