The FCC has rescheduled the November 1-8, 2023 filing opportunity to apply for new Low Power FM stations to December 6, 2023-December 13, 2023. This was in response to a letter submitted to the FCC by Low Power FM advocate groups including Common Frequency. This extra five weeks provides further time to nonprofits and educational institutions to approve filing within their boards and internal structures to better prepare applications.
As a follow-up to their original announcement a month previous, the FCC released a public notice July 31, 2023 outlining specifics concerning the protocol for a LPFM filing window. The filing window, November 1 to November 8, 2023, is for nonprofits, educational organizations, Native groups, and governmental agencies to file for new radio stations 88.1 - 107.9 MHz. The notice summarized the details for filling out Form 2100, Schedule 318 via the FCC Media Bureau's electronic filing system -- the Licensing and Management System (LMS).
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is declaring a filing window November 1st to 8th wherein specific groups can submit applications for new Low Power FM radio station licenses. This happens rarely but once every decade. The FCC’s Public Notice of the event can be found here:
The application window will be open to only apply for non-commercial, educational low power FM (“LFPM”) stations. For review, there are four basic types of FM licenses: Commercial, non-commercial, low power (LPFM), and translator/booster.
Commercial stations generally play hit music, run commercials, and exist to make profit (92.1-107.9 FM). They can range from 100 to 100,000 watts.
LPFM are small, non-commercial stations, up to 100 watts, whose purpose is to serve a specific community or sub-community within a large city.
Translators/Boosters are automated transmitters that rebroadcast a primary station’s programming to a new area, or an area of poor reception.
Non-Commercial Educational (NCE) stations primarily exist between 88.1 to 91.9 FM, the “reserved” band, and exist to serve non-commercial purposes; they are commercial-free. Non-profit groups, schools, and religious entities are allowed to apply for these stations. Examples of the types of stations that primarily use NCE frequencies include National Public Radio (NPR), college radio stations, and Christian satellite networks. Occasionally, NCE stations can be found on the non-reserved band (92.1-107.9 FM), but this is a result of a complicated petitioning process. NCE’s can range from 100 to 100,000 watts.
The FCC plans on opening a one-week application filing window: November 1st, beginning at midnight, the window opens. November 8th at 6pm EST/ 3pm PST the window closes. An electronic application that is clicked with “submit” at 6:01pm EST will not even be accepted. Note that this is the only time to file for a LPFM probably for the next ten years, and the last radio channels available in many cities.
On Thursday June 22 the FCC announced it will be opening a "filing window" for applying for new Low Power FM (LPFM) licenses. These are 100-watt non-commercial, educational FM broadcast stations on the FM broadcast band 88.1 FM -107.9 FM. This marks the first time since 2013 the FCC has opened such opportunity. These FM channels are set aside for schools, churches, non-profits, government, or other educational institutions. Another broadcast service, "FM translators" also share these type of lower power radio channels. In the last few years there have been four different filing opportu
FCC Asks for Comment Concerning Continued Operation of Channel 6 Station Supplementary Service on 87.7 FM
On June 7 the FCC released a Fifth Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning operation of FM stations on 87.7 FM by Low Power Television Channel 6 stations. The television channel 6 occupies an area from 82-88 MHz, for which the audio part of the analog television signal occupied 87.7 FM. Upon digital television transition, this technical anomaly was supposed to disappear, however certain Channel 6 licensees asked the FCC to tack an additional analog FM service to the side of their digital television service under the guise that it is a digital supplementary service.
Back in January, the FCC discontinued its central database for television and radio form filings (Consolidated Database System, or CDBS) which replaced paper filings in year 2000. Most of the forms of CDBS had been previously transported over to the FCC's new Media Bureau's filing system, LMS (Licensing and Management System). Between January and May 2022 LMS had no options for informal forms for filing Special Temporary Authority and Resumption of Operations.
For those acquainted with filing applications with the FCC's Media Bureau for over the last twenty years, the Consolidated Data Base System (CDBS) was the main conduit for broadcast applications. Within the last year, the FCC has been moving all application filing to the new Licensing and Management System (LMS). On January 11, 2022, the FCC gave one day notice for the CDBS shutdown of operation. Although most FCC Media Bureau application have already migrated to LMS, AM broadcast and digital notifications, Special Temporary Authority filings, and pleadings have resided on CDBS. Until L
The FCC opened a filing window for new non-commercial educational FM station November 2 to 9, 2021. 1282 applications were received. The Media Bureau has now identified 231 groups -- 883 applications, that have technical conflicts between applicants. Within these groups where more than one applicant has applied for a selected frequency within a specific area, only one applicant can be granted a permit for a new station since the technical proposals overlap in channel use. Within the public notice, the FCC outlines a period until January 28, 2022 where applicants an enter into voluntary
The Media Bureau's Audio Division received 1,282 applications for new NCE FM stations during the November 2021 Non-Commercial Educational Full Power FM filing window. The FCC has reviewed the applications to identify singletons (applications that are not mutually exclusive (MX) with
any other application filed in the window, and can be accepted for filing), singletons with
FCC Releases Details for Procedures for November Filing Window for New Non-Commercial, Educational (NCE) FM Channels (88.1 FM - 91.9 FM)
As Common Frequency previously announced, the FCC is open a filing window for nonprofits, churches, and educational institutions for limited supply of FM channels (non-commercial, educational, or "NCE" channels) for new stations primarily in mostly rural areas across the United States.
The FCC has released a summary of the filing window procedures, found here. The following briefly summarizes