FCC Announces November 2023 LPFM Filing Window

Posted on June 29th, 2023 by

In a brief public notice issued June 22, 2023, the FCC’s Media Bureau announced a November 1-8, 2023 filing window for new Low Power FM (LPFM) station construction permits, stating that more details will follow in coming weeks.  LPFM is a noncommercial radio service, but they can operate and applications can be filed for spectrum throughout the entire FM band (channels 201-300).

During the window, applicants will have to file Form 2100, Schedule 318 to express an interest in an LPFM permit.  Mutually exclusive applicants will be decided on the NCE points system, and rely on point claims in submitted applications.  Numerous decisions from the 2021 full power FM noncommercial filing window have provided helpful interpretations of the FCC’s policies governing points decisions.

Part of the reason the Bureau announced this window so early is for potential applicants to perform due diligence and retain engineering or other assistance well in advance of the filing window.  While there are many vendors claiming to provide necessary engineering services for these types of applications, we encourage applicants to move early in retaining well-qualified and experienced engineers – inaccurate data or calculations create legal challenges, add cost to LMS to allow loading of applications by late August so that application drafts can be prepared and completed before the filing window.

As with other noncommercial filing windows, applicants cannot improve their points position after the filing window closes.  Applicants should carefully scrutinize application responses and required exhibits to ensure there are no errors.

We anticipate a public notice with substantial details and information in the coming weeks.  In the interim, we encourage potential applicants to review the FCC’s 2019 Report & Order modifying the rules and procedures for filing LPFM applications and selecting and licensing competing LPFM applications.  Though not a definitive indicator of spectrum availability, the FCC still has an LPFM Channel Finder link which can be a helpful initial tool.