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Practical Effects of Shutdown Sink In

The practical effects of the government shutdown are being felt in radio. Engineering consultants and communications attorneys are striving to prepare filings, and work on station purchase and sale agreements, such as they can, while the FCC’s online databases are not available during the government shutdown.

Wilkinson Barker Knauer attorney David Oxenford notes work to prepare applications for filing when the FCC reopens is hard to do now as the commission’s CDBS is unavailable. “Nor can you even access information about pending applications, pleadings that have been filed, or any of the other detailed information that is available on the FCC’s usually informative website,” he notes.

We’ve reported that those preparing applications for the still-presumed start of the Oct. 15 low-power FM application window are trying to continue their work, though they’re hampered as well. Nexus Broadcast’s Leo Ashcraft calls the situation “frustrating” during the “hectic” time leading up to the window opening and tells Radio World “the FCC has left us with no plan in the event of an extended shutdown.”

Oxenford points to a notice on the FCC’s site “Procedures for Filings in the Event of a Lapse in Funding,” that essentially says filings due during the shutdown would be due the day after the commission resumes normal operations. For example, if funding is restored on a Monday, the agency would resume normal operations that Tuesday and filings due in the interim would be due that Wednesday. However, according to the notice, if the commission’s electronic databases are overwhelmed by a flood of filings when the FCC reopens, the commission would issue further notices, and presumably extend some deadlines.

In the meantime, some agency processes related to emergencies and public safety continue. For example, it seems clear any tower lighting outages should still be reported to the FAA, according to Oxenford.