Just over a week ago, the FCC decided to freeze the dismissal of FM translator applications of applicants who had more than 10 applications still pending at the FCC. As we have written, the FCC had ordered all applicants in the 2003 FM Translator filing window to dismiss all but 10 of their remaining applications. The Commission took this action in response to the request of advocates of Low Power FM (LPFM) stations, who argued that the numerous pending translators blocked too many opportunities for new LPFM stations. While translator applicants opposed the Commission’s action, and filed Petitions for Reconsideration of that decision and a request for stay of the deadline for selecting the applications for dismissal, the deadline for selection of the applications to be dismissed came and went. Only after that deadline did the Commission issue a Public Notice announcing that it would not process the dismissal requests until it resolved the pending Reconsideration petitions.
While the dismissals of applications by parties with more than 10 applications have been frozen, the processing of applications filed by other applicants will be allowed to go forward. So, presumably, unless these applications are mutually exclusive with some of the frozen applications, we will see some new translator applications processed and granted, and perhaps even settlement windows opened in cases where there are mutually exclusive applications by parties with less than 10 applications pending. For all other applicants, either applications by those with more than 10 pending applications or applications which are mutually exclusive with such applications, they will remain pending until the Reconsideration requests are resolved. So we should, at long last, see at least some new FM translator applications processed and granted in the near future.