AM owners, start your engines…and your attorneys, consulting engineers and other consultants. The first window to apply to modify or move an FM translator (up to 250 miles) opens on Jan. 29.
The first modification window closes at midnight Eastern on July 28.
Owners of commercial Class Cs and Ds are eligible to take part in the first window.
The 250-mile limit will be measured from the existing translator transmitter site to the proposed translator site; the 250-mile limit is not measured from the translator site to the AM station’s transmitter site.
A second filing window opens on July 29 and closes at 6 p.m. Eastern on Oct. 31. This window is for commercial AM licensees of any class that want to modify or move an FM translator.
According to the commission, only one application can be filed for each AM station, and only one station may be the primary station listed in one — but not both — of the windows.
Owners must file electronically FCC Form 349 for minor modifications.
It’s important to pay attention to the dates for each window and what the FCC is requesting, because the agency will dismiss anything filed with the intention of getting around the rules. That includes applications for the reserved band, for major modifications, for Class A and B’s in the first window.
The FCC has included a Q&A on its AM revitalization on its website and tool for finding available translators and frequencies at: www.fcc.gov/media/radio/am-revitalization/ For example. From the FAQ, we learn that once an owner gains a translator through the window, that translator must re-broadcast the same station for at least four years.