Radio License Renewals Set to Begin

Posted on March 28th, 2019 by

On March 15, 2019, the FCC issued its first license renewal “reminder” public notice for radio stations in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Stations there will need to file their renewal applications no later than June 3, 2019, but must begin pre-filing announcements on April 1, 2019 (and again on April 16, May 1, and May 16).

The FCC’s notice also advised that the Form 303-S would not be available for use until May 1, 2019. We have since learned from FCC staff that the reason the Form 303-S is not available is because it is being relocated from the Consolidated Database System (CDBS) to the License Management System (LMS). That’s right, stations will have to use LMS to file for license renewal, introducing a bit of a learning curve. We also learned that the FCC’s announcement about the delay in form availability was prompted by a station that filed its renewal application early, using the form in CDBS. The FCC promptly dismissed that application, directing them to file on the new form when it became available.

Despite being migrated to LMS, there should not be any changes in the renewal form questions (you can review those here) but stations should be aware of subtle tweaks in question language.

The Bureau’s notice announces that further guidance on license renewal is coming in a few weeks. Pay close attention to your station’s filing date – a late filed renewal application will get you a base fine of $3,000. If a renewal application is filed after a station’s license expires, an additional base fine of $4,000 applies.