At the NAB Convention, Chairman Pai announced that the promised windows for AM stations to apply for new FM translators would open this summer (see our article here). It now looks as if that promise is about to become a reality as on Friday the FCC added to its list of “items on circulation” a Public Notice announcing that window. Each week, the FCC updates this list of items on circulation (see the list here). These “items” are the orders that have been written by the FCC staff and are now being reviewed by the Commissioners themselves. Once these items are reviewed and approved, often in a matter of days or a few weeks, they are released to the public. So it looks like the formal announcement on the dates for the windows will be coming very soon.
If adopted and released to the public by the FCC in the next few weeks, that announcement will likely set a date for filing for these translators – probably opening the first window about 60 days after the notice is released. Applications would then be filed in the window set for these filings. This could mean that the first window could open as early as July. The Commission will be opening two windows. The first will be for Class C and D AM stations. Once those applications have been filed, a second window will open for Class A and B AM stations. Only AM stations that did not file for a translator relying on the 250 mile waivers available last year (see our article here) are eligible to apply for translators in these upcoming windows. Stations that acquired translators through other means can still apply for a new translator in this window. However, only one new translator will be available in this window for each AM eligible to file.
Of course, we will know the details once the notice is released. But it looks like we will see that window very soon. For more on the FCC’s adoption of the plans for this window, see our post here. And for more on the changes in the rules that allow applicants to use a more liberal rule on where the translators can be located, see our articles here, here and here.