In an Order released today, the FCC affirmed its tentative decision limiting the number of noncommercial FM applications that can be filed by one party in the upcoming window for new reserved educational band stations. Applications for these stations can be submitted starting on Friday. See our post, here, for details on the filing requirements. The Commission upheld its tentative decision to retain a limit of 10 applications, despite requests by NPR, Minnesota Public Radio, and many religious broadcasters for higher limits. The Commission cited thousands of individual comments in support of the 10 station limit, as well as those of a number of "public interest" groups. Apparently, the flood of thousands of almost identical individual comments helped convince the Commission that the weight of the comments (perhaps literally) supported its decision.
The Commission did recognize some exceptions to the 10 station limit, exempting major change applications and applications that were originally filed under the old rules for FM educational processing (many of which have been languishing for almost 10 years) which must be refiled in the upcoming window. In response to concerns that there might be sham applications that are filed to evade the limits, the Commission warned applicants that it retained the ability to investigate any application to make sure that the representations are true. See our post on a recent case where the FCC rejected an applicant’s claim to credit as a local applicant. We will see if these efforts by the FCC in fact reduce the number of applications to a manageable number that can be quickly processed by the Commission.