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Petitions for Reconsideration Filed About FCC’s New Caps for Pending FM Translator Caps

Objections range from ‘arbitrary’ to ‘unclear’

The FCC is accepting comments on four petitions for reconsideration filed regarding the agency’s new caps and application dismissal process for FM translator applications pending from 2003.

The commission has adopted a national cap of 50 applications per entity and a market-based cap of one application per entity in the most “spectrum-limited markets.”

Educational Media Foundation calls the caps “arbitrary,” and says the FCC should clarify some points before any applicant must designate its Auction 83 applications for dismissal. EMF has several hundred pending FM translator applications. EMF asks the FCC to clarify what constitutes a radio market for the purposes of the cap.

Conner Media has several FM translator applications pending in the Greenville–New Bern–Jacksonville, N.C. market and would be affected by an application dismissal. “Conner’s purpose in filing multiple applications within the same market was a rational means of providing meaningful service to the most heavily-populated portions of the market that would derive the greatest benefit from such service. A single translator could not possibly suffice to serve such a market,” writes Conner attorney Peter Gutmann of Womble Carlyle.

Conner asks the agency to reconsider its one-to-a-market cap, and, if used at all, to apply a cap on a per community-of-license basis rather than on a per-market basis.

Kyle Magrill writes when the commission previously discussed the caps, that was in the context of making sure spectrum was available for LPFMs. The new caps “dramatically expanded their use by applying them as an anti-trafficking measure.”

For nonspectrum limited markets, Magrill proposes exceptions should be made for commercial applicants with less than 50 applications nationally. Those markets that are no longer spectrum-limited should be excused from the one-to-a-market cap.

We wrote about a fourth petition for reconsideration, this one from Hope Christian Church of Marlton, N.J., last week.

Oppositions to these petitions must be filed within 15 days of Federal Register publication to Docket 99-25.

FM Translator Operators Press FCC for Waivers