In a very unusual process – one that is probably unprecedented – the FCC last week announced that it is opening a window for parties to file applications for a new AM station to serve Rockland County, New York. AM stations are traditionally made available for filing on an on-demand basis – when the FCC accepts applications for new stations, parties can file in any location in the country, specifying any city of license that they select, as long as the station that they propose will not create interference to existing stations. This is unlike FM and TV, where there is a two step process – new channels are first allotted at specific locations based on a party’s request, but that party gets no rights to the channel. Instead, after the allotment has been made, anyone can file for in a specified window seeking a construction permit to build the new station. In this window, the FCC has adopted a unique process for an AM stations, a process much more like that used in FM and TV. The Commission had been asked by a party for permission to operate a new station in Rockland County. Instead of simply permitting that party to build a station without competition, the FCC decided that a new station was necessary to provide emergency information about the nuclear power plant in the Rockland area, but determined that anyone could file for that channel. Applications for the channel (1700 AM – on the expanded band, for which there have been no applications for almost 10 years since the first set of expressions of interest were taken), will be accepted from October 1 through October 5.
In order to give parties the ability to prepare applications, the FCC is imposing a freeze on the filing of minor change applications for AM stations throughout the country during the filing window. Any minor change application that is filed during the window will be returned. So if you are planning an application for a technical change to your AM station, you need to plan to avoid that filing window.
Continue Reading AM Filing Freeze While FCC Accepts Applications for a New AM in Rockland County, New York