FCC comments on filing deadline waivers


New Beginning World Outreach Inc. attempted to acquire a construction permit for a new NCE FM in Wytheville VA, but submitted a defective engineering proposal. They amended the parameters of the station, only to run into a new defect.

The FCC was forced to deny the second application and reported the denial in a public notice, setting off a 30-day clock for NBWO to respond. It didn’t meet that deadline — in fact, it missed the deadline by a considerable amount of time, nearly nine months, but wants a waiver to try again.

For those of you keeping score at home, the first CP proposal failed to cover 50% of the city of license; the second had impermissible overlap with an existing station.

The FCC denied the second petition for reconsideration on grounds that it was untimely, and noted that it generally lacks authority to grant a waiver in these cases, as confirmed by the D.C. Circuit. The FCC quoted the court’s comment, “[a]lthough section 405 does not absolutely prohibit FCC consideration of untimely petitions for reconsideration, we have discouraged the Commission from accepting such petitions in the absence of extremely unusual circumstances.”

NBWO argued that that the D.C. Circuit was referring to “large and sophisticated filers represented by Washington counsel,” and said it hardly fit into that category. But the FCC said it was not about to rule that only large, well-lawyered companies are subject to the “extraordinary circumstances” portion of the Court’s interpretation and that all others need not worry about it.

The FCC wrote, “Prosecuting an application without communications counsel and without a clear understanding of the Commission’s Rules are simply not ‘extremely unusual circumstances’ and, therefore, they are an insufficient justification for waiving the statutory time limit for seeking reconsideration of a second dismissal of the Application.”