FCC Proposes To Streamline And Improve NCE FM And LPFM Comparative Selections And Licensing Procedures

The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking(NPRM) aimed at streamlining and improving the rules and procedures for processing and licensing competing applications for new noncommercial educational (NCE) broadcast and low power FM (LPFM) stations.

Mutually exclusive (MX) applications for new NCE and LPFM stations are currently resolved by applying comparative procedures that include a point system for selecting among MX applications. The NCE and LPFM procedures have facilitated the grant of several thousand new station construction permits. But some of these regulations are unnecessarily complex and have caused problems for applicants seeking in good faith to comply with them. Based on experience gained from past filing windows, this NPRM seeks to clarify, simplify, and improve our selection and licensing procedures and thus expedite the initiation of new service to the public.

Among other things, the NPRM tentatively proposes to:

• Eliminate the current requirement that NCE applicants amend their governing documents
to pledge that localism/diversity be maintained in order to receive points as “established
local applicants” and for “diversity of ownership”

• Improve the NCE tie-breaker process and reduce the need for mandatory time-sharing

• Clarify aspects of the “holding period” rule by which NCE permittees must maintain the
characteristics for which they received comparative preferences and points

• Reclassify as “minor” gradual changes in governing boards with respect to non-stock and
membership LPFM and NCE applicants

• Extend the LPFM construction period from 18-months to a full three years

• Allow the assignment/transfer of LPFM construction permits after an 18-month holding
period and eliminate the three-year holding period on assigning LPFM licenses

See NPRM for further details.

Post-Incentive Auction Status Update

Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau report on the status of the Post-Incentive Auction transition and reimbursement program; announce a further allocation from the Relocation Fund; and announce procedures for eligible entities to close out the accounts in the fund. See Public Notice for the full update.

FCC Implements New Procedure For Ownership Changes In The Antenna Structure Registration System

On February 14, 2019, the FCC will revise its Antenna Structure Registration System (ASR) to put into place a new process for reporting changes in ownership of towers and other structures registered in the system. Related changes will be made to FCC Form 854, Antenna Structure Registration, on the same date. To implement these changes, the ASR online system will be unavailable as of 6:00 a.m. on February 14, 2019, until approximately 10:00 a.m. on the same day.

To increase the security of the ASR system and reduce the risk of unauthorized changes being made, going forward, both the current owner and the new owner of a structure will be required to approve any change in ownership registration. The new Ownership Change (OC) application procedure is a two-step process that requires both the assignor (current owner of record) and the assignee (new owner of record) to log into ASR, complete their respective portions of the application, and provide the signature of an authorized person. See Public Notice for additional details.