The FCC yesterday released a Public Notice announcing a filing window from April 18 through May 9 for “long-form” applications for new translators that were filed in the January 2018 window for Class A and B AM stations to seek new FM translators to rebroadcast their stations. The Public Notice also sets out the procedures for filing in this window. The window is for the filing of a complete Form 349 applications by applicants who were deemed to be “singletons,” i.e. their applications are not predicted to cause interference to any other translator applicant. The list of singletons is here. The long-form application requires more certifications and technical information than that which was submitted during the initial filing window.
After the long-form application is submitted to the FCC, the application will be published in an FCC public notice of broadcast applications. Interested parties will have 15 days from that publication date to comment or object. If no comments are filed, and no other issues arise, the FCC’s Audio Division is known for its speed in processing translator applications so that grants might be expected for many of the applications within 60 days of the end of the window.
Not specifically addressed is when the FCC will open a settlement window to resolve interference between applications that were not found to be singletons. At some point in the future, the FCC will allow AMs that filed applications for translators that are predicted to cause interference to other translator proposals to reach a settlement or make minor technical changes to resolve their interference issues. Until that window is open, however, mutually exclusive applicants are prohibited from communicating with each other due to the prohibited communications rules that apply during broadcast auctions – which these applications will end up in if their mutual exclusivity is not resolved during the settlement window.
In any event, it appears that a number of AM stations – more than 600 according to today’s announcement — will soon be able to start service with their new FM translator stations. If processing in the last window for Class C and D AM stations is any indication, we should see a number of grants of new translators before summer officially starts.