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.