An FCC decision released today reminds broadcasters of the need to notify the FCC of the completion of construction of a new broadcast auxiliary station. Studio Transmitter Links (STL) and Remote Pickups (RPU) have for several years been licensed through the FCC’s Wireless Bureau, rather than through the Media Bureau. Unlike a grant of authority to construct a broadcast station, where the new authorization is granted in the form of a construction permit, when the Wireless Bureau grants a new authorization, it is in the form of a license. Most broadcasters think of a license as something given to a station that is already constructed and complete. The Wireless Bureau’s grant of the license, however, is conditional on the operator providing the FCC with notification upon the completion of construction within a specified period. If no such notification is provided within the specified period (18 months for most broadcast auxiliaries, but only 12 months for some), and no extension is requested, the Wireless Bureau will automatically issue a public notice canceling the license (see the FCC Wireless Bureau website for details on how to file the notification of construction or extension request). If the licensee does not request reconsideration of the cancellation of the license within 30 days providing evidence of timely construction, the cancellation will become final. To operate with the facilities that had been authorized, the licensee would then have to file for a new license – starting the authorization process over from the beginning. If the auxiliary had in fact been constructed, to continue to use it while the new application is pending, Special Temporary Authority (an "STA") would be required.
In 2006, when announcing the system that automatically generates the termination notice, the Wireless Bureau issued a Public Notice explaining the procedures that it would use. The Commission states that its system will automatically generate a letter to the licensee providing notification of the cancellation and the 30 day reconsideration period. Importantly, the Commission reminds licensees to keep their addresses in the FCC’s systems current, as the mere fact that the letter did not get to the licensee at the correct address will not be an excuse for an expired license. But having a correct address gives the licensee a better chance of getting the notice of cancellation if they inadvertently forget to file their notification of construction. So remember the dates, and remember to keep your address up to date in the FCC’s records.