FCC to Construction Permit Applicants: Don’t Build Early

Posted on November 30th, 2018 by

The FCC recently issued a decision that reiterates a point they’ve made before – broadcast station construction permit applicants are not allowed to take certain actions toward construction until the permit they are seeking is actually issued.

This latest FCC decision actually proposed a $5,000 fine against a LPFM station that violated the policy, even though the station “deconstructed” the facility when it became aware of the policy. The policy applies to new stations as well as modified facilities for existing stations. We recommend that you read the decision.

To be clear, certain pre-construction activities like clearing and grading a transmitter site, pouring tower footings, installing a tower base and anchors, installing electricity, or buying equipment are allowed before the issuance of a construction permit. But, actually constructing a tower (or beginning to) or installing an antenna before a construction permit has been issued violates the policy, and can result in fines.

We know, it seems a bit nonsensical. So why does the FCC take this position? They are concerned that early construction will give a permit applicant evidence that an FCC denial of a construction permit application will create a hardship or make expenditures worthless. Proceed carefully.