With the June 3 filing deadline fast approaching for license renewals for radio stations in Maryland, DC, Virginia and West Virginia, stations (including FM translators and LPFMs) licensed to any community in any of those states should be beginning to prepare their applications.
As Wilkinson Barker Knauer attorney David Oxenford writes, the FCC forms should be available next week, so once May 1 rolls around, early birds in those states can start to file their renewal applications and the accompanying EEO program report.
These stations should also be running their pre-filing license renewal announcements on May 1 and May 16, he notes.
Radio stations in the next renewal group, stations in North and South Carolina, should be prepared to begin their license renewal pre-filing announcements in June – so in May they should be recording and scheduling that announcement to run for the first time on June 1.
“While May is one of those months with no other regularly scheduled regulatory filing deadlines, it is full of other FCC deadlines including comment dates in several proceedings of importance to broadcasters,” Oxenford writes in a April 25 blog post.
In addition, broadcasters in Arizona, Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia that are part of an Employment Unit with 5 or more full-time employees should also be preparing to add to their online public inspection file their Annual EEO Public File Report – due to be added to their files by June 1.
One of the FCC proceedings with comment dates in May, Oxenford also notes, is the proposal to allow AM broadcasters to, at their option, convert to full-time digital operations. Comments on the initial Petition for Rulemaking are due on May 13.
“While the FCC is now just seeking preliminary comments on this proposal (they have not yet issued a formal Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with specifics on proposed actions), filings on or before May 13 are important to let the FCC know whether there really are broadcasters interested in converting their AM stations to all-digital operations,” he says. “So if you have an interest, file your comments in the proceeding by the upcoming deadline.”
The FCC is also looking for updated information from operators of C Band earth stations as to the uses they are making of the 3.7 to 4.2 GHz band. Those updates are due on May 28.
Comments in the proceeding looking at changes to the rules governing the applications for and processing of new noncommercial FM and LPFM stations are due on May 20. The FCC is looking at changes in the information noncommercial applicants need to supply when filing for new stations, and other changes in dealing with NCE and LPFM construction permits once granted.
At the May 9 FCC open meeting, the Commission will be considering its proposal on how to resolve interference complaints about new FM translator facilities by full-power FM stations. The FCC will also be considering a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (here) on this year’s regulatory fees – likely to be paid in August or September. Under this proposal, some broadcast fees, particularly for radio, will be going up. Comments will be due at a later date after the NPRM is adopted.
“We should also be on the lookout for dates for the commencement of filing of reimbursement requests by LPTV, TV translators and FM radio stations affected by the incentive auction,” Oxenford said. “All in all, it is a very busy month for broadcast regulatory activities.”