No NCE Radio Filing Window Scheduled Yet

Posted on February 23rd, 2021 by

Despite an announcement in October 2020 that the FCC would hold a 2021 filing window for new noncommercial FM construction permits, the FCC has yet to schedule that filing window.

While the October 2020 announcement also asked for comments on a proposed limit on the number of applications that a single applicant could file in the window, the comment period for that was very brief and ended in December 2020.  So the FCC likely has all it needs on that issue to proceed.  But there could be some other complexities that the FCC is trying to nail down so it avoids controversy or complexities that create grey areas. The FCC last held an NCE filing window for full power FM stations fourteen years ago in 2007, and the lack of an application limit for that filing window created chaos that was not fully resolved until an after-the-fact limit was applied and legal challenges to that decision were decided.

For the 2007 filing window, the FCC gave about 60 days advance notice of when the window would be held, and the filing window itself was only 7 days long.  Those thinking of possibly participating would do best to secure the services of a consulting engineer and counsel early.  Now is also a good time to review the FCC’s recent changes to the way it decides who wins a noncommercial construction permit when there are competing applicants for the same spectrum.