The FCC released its decision to limit to 10 the number of applications that can be filed by one party in the next window for new noncommercial FM stations in the reserved FM band (those channels below 92.1 on the FM dial). No party can have attributable interests in more than 10 applications filed in the window. By making this decision, the FCC cleared the way for the window itself, which was first hinted at last summer (see our article here). So, having cleared the way, the FCC’s staff, in another public notice, announced that the filing window will be in early November – and run from 12:01 AM EDT on November 2, 2021 until November 9, 2021 at 6 PM EST.
Further filing details will be provided by the FCC in a subsequent notice. But applicants can expect that, in the window, they will need to file applications fully setting out their technical proposals so that the FCC can evaluate which applications are mutually exclusive (i.e., which are in technical conflict so that only one can be granted without creating prohibited levels of interference to the other). Applicants will also need to set out their claims under the “points system” used to choose between applicants who are mutually exclusive (see our articles here and here on recent changes to that points system). Nonprofit, educational parties interested in filing for a new noncommercial FM channel should start now to consult with their engineers and attorneys about the preparations needed to file for that new station in the upcoming window in November.