In its Public Notice setting out the rules governing the upcoming filing window for applicants seeking new noncommercial FM stations or major changes in existing stations, which we wrote about here, the FCC has put applicants on notice of the many requirements that must be met in order to have an application considered in the upcoming process. This is the first opportunity in this century for the filing of applications for new noncommercial FM stations. In order to participate, all applicants must make sure that they follow the rules set out by the Commission. Applications will be due in a filing window that will open on October 12 and close on October 19.
Fundamentally, the FCC’s Public Notice reminds interested parties that, to be eligible, an applicant must be a noncommercial entity – a nonprofit corporation or a governmental organization. Individual applicants or profit-making entities cannot participate. As eligibility to participate and the comparative qualifications of all applicants are assessed at the time of filing, applicants need to assure their nonprofit status is in order before the upcoming filing window.
The Commission also sets out a number of other requirement for the applications that may be filed during the window. Applications submitted during the window will be filed electronically on FCC Form 340, and must contain very specific technical descriptions of the service they plan. The proposal must specify facilities that don’t interfere with other existing stations or pending “cut-off” noncommercial applications. The applicant must have received reasonable assurance of the availability of its proposed transmitter site (i.e. a legally binding contract is not necessary, but a commitment from the site owner that the site will be available and an idea of the terms on which that availability is premised must be obtained).