The FCC’s Media Bureau this week released a decision denying the license applications of five new FM stations, and cancelling the construction permits for those stations. While the principal reasons for the denial of the license applications was the failure of the applicant to complete the applications correctly after the several deadlines imposed by the FCC, the decision also issued another reminder to broadcasters that they cannot construct temporary facilities to meet a construction deadline, and then dismantle those facilities soon after filing the license application. As in the case earlier this year that we wrote about here, the Bureau is expecting that stations will turn on their stations for the purposes of operating and serving the people within their service area when they seek their licenses. They cannot turn on the station simply for the purposes of filing for the license, and then dismantle the facilities and turn the station back off the air.
The decision also makes clear that license applications (on Form 302, and on Form 350 for translators) cannot be filed only partially complete on a deadline date. The Bureau states that the permittee must construct the station and file a license application demonstrating proper construction in a timely fashion. The applicant cannot file a bare bones application, and then file supplemental information demonstrating post-construction meeting of permit conditions (like demonstrating compliance with RF radiation limits, or compliance with the main studio rules). So, if you are facing a construction deadline, be sure to plan early so that you can meet the deadline, have the station operating properly in compliance with all conditions by the deadline date, and then file a complete application by the deadlines specified in the construction permit and in the FCC’s rules.