According to the agenda for its meeting to be held on Friday, November 3, the FCC will finally adopt changes to its rules on FM allotment procedures and on changes in the city of license of broadcast stations. The FCC issued its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in this proceeding in June 2005. This proceeding includes a proposal to make a city of license change a "minor change," which would not require a rulemaking for FM stations, and would not require a window filing for AM stations. This could speed the processing of such changes, allowing stations to upgrade and otherwise improve their facilities.
The proceeding also deals with a number of other procedural issues, including whether a station should be allowed to change its city of license if it is the only station licensed to a community (generally prohibited under current rules), and whether the proponent of a new FM allotment should be required to file its Form 301 application for a construction permit (and pay the required filing fee) at the same time as it files a Petition seeking the new allotment (intended to encourage only serious applicants for new channels).
In its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FCC issued a freeze on the processing of FM allotment proceedings. Because of the freeze, the Commission promised to expedite the processing of this proceeding. As so many plans were put on hold by the freeze, the processing may not have expedited enough to many parties. But it looks like the freeze will finally thaw in the near future, so radio station owners looking to improve their facilities should prepare to take advantage of these new processes.