Second FM Translator Window for AM Stations Now Open

Posted on July 29th, 2016 by

The second FM translator filing window for AM stations opened today, July 29th. In this window, Class A and B AM stations are eligible to file applications seeking to relocate non-reserved band translators up to 250 miles for use with an AM station. Class C and D stations can also participate in this window, even though they were eligible to participate in the 6-month window that ended on July 28, 2016.

The second window will not be as long as the first one. It will instead last for only three months, ending at 5:59 p.m. eastern time on October 31, 2016.

After this second window closes, AM stations will have one last shot at obtaining new FM translator authorizations from the FCC, but that is through an auction window that was projected to be scheduled sometime in 2017 (not yet announced), with mutually exclusive applicants having to outbid one another for the construction permit. If an application filed during the auction window is not mutually exclusive with another one (a singleton), that applicant “wins” the permit without having to bid for it.

The preceding paragraph comes with an important caveat. All auctions are conducted by the FCC’s Wireless Bureau staff, and they are the ones that have to issue the public notice announcing the auction. And they are insanely busy at the moment with the TV Auction, which could extend into 2017. No other auctions have been scheduled, not even one that includes about 200 applicants from the old 2003 FM translator filing window. So a 2017 FM translator auction for AM stations might well be pushed until later (much later). And with that caveat, if you’re an AM station looking for a translator, you just might want to get one through this last 250-mile waiver window.