Old FM Translator Window Finally Ending

Posted on May 27th, 2014 by

As many know, the last part of a filing window for new and major change applications in the radio services is the actual auction where the highest qualified bidder wins.  Along the way, the FCC considers expressions of interest, identifies applicants, requires the filing of full applications, identifies singletons, identifies mutually exclusive applicants, allows one or more settlement periods, and along the way, grants permits where it can.  When they’ve exhausted all other means of granting permits, those remaining applicants that are mutually exclusive proceed to auction.  Some windows go quickly.  Others take longer.

FM Translator Window #83 took a long, long while.  It opened in 2003, and the actual auction was just scheduled.  Along the way, the FCC changed the FM translator rules a few times and made room for LPFM.  It also revised its own rules and ended up dismissing many of the originally filed 13,000+ applications filed in the window.

From that original glut of applications, one would expect several mutually exclusive applicants to remain at the end and proceed to auction.  We were therefore surprised that in the end, a mere four mutually exclusive groups remained for auction, each with two applicants, for a total of 8 remaining applications.  Two are in Alaska, one in Arizona, and one in Utah.

It would appear that the next FM translator filing window will be for AM stations only; probably in 2015.  We sincerely hope that window takes much less than 11 years to process.