The start of the FCC’s license renewal cycle for radio stations is close at hand, and we have issued an advisory to help radio stations prepare for the process. A copy of the advisory is available here, and contains information about the pre- and post-filing announcements that stations are required to air, as well as information about recent changes to the FCC Form 303-S License Renewal application, and guidance on what radio stations should be doing as they head toward the filing date.
Radio stations in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC, and West Virginia are the first batch to file on June 1st, just over two months away. Even more pressing for stations in these states, however, is the requirement that they begin broadcasting their pre-filing announcements on April 1st. The announcements continue on April 16, May 1, and May 16, for a total of four pre-filing announcements. These announcements give notice to the local community that the station will be filing a license renewal application with the Commission and invite participation in the renewal process. The precise language of the pre-filing announcements—which is dictated by the FCC’s Rules—can be found here.
The announcements should be aired in the primary language used on the station, so if the station broadcasts primarily in a foreign language, the announcements should be broadcast in that language. For commercial radio stations, at least two of the required pre-filing announcements must air on the station between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., or 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. local time. If the station does not operate between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. or between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., then at least two of the required announcements must be made during the first two hours of broadcast operations. For noncommercial educational stations, the timing of the announcements is the same as for commercial stations, except that such stations need not broadcast the announcements during any month during which the station does not operate.
Next up in the queue will be radio stations in North Carolina and South Carolina, who will start their pre-filing announcements on June 1st in advance of filing their renewal applications on August 1st.