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OMB OK’s FCC Caps on Pending FM Translator Applications

One of several steps necessary for the commission to eventually open an LPFM application window

The Office of Management and Budget has approved the FCC’s plan to reduce the number of FM translator applications pending since 2003.

This is one of several steps necessary for the commission to eventually open an application window for more prospective low-power FM licensees, though the commission is not expected to open that window until mid-2013 at the earliest.

In March, the commission adopted market caps to get broadcasters to pursue a smaller number of applications and balance the spectrum needs of both full-service FMs and low-power FMs to come.

Some religious broadcasters, like Educational Media Foundation, have protested the caps, and those concerns have not been resolved.

Among the requirements, entities with more than 50 pending FM translator applications and/or more than one pending app in spectrum-challenged areas of the top 150 Arbitron Radio Metros must identify to the FCC which applications to so they can comply with the limits. Otherwise, the agency will apply the national cap to the first 50 filed apps, and dismiss applications that were filed later. See details in this Federal Register notice.

The next step would be for the commission to issue a notice detailing deadlines for broadcasters holding pending FM translator applications.