I just heard from Peter Doyle, chief of the FCC’s Audio Division, that there were 2,819 filings for low-power FM licenses during the application window that closed last Friday. The applications are publicly searchable in the FCC’s database. The release of this data is just a tad bit earlier than yesterday’s estimated release time, but I’m not complaining.
Estimates of applications made by LPFM advocates ranged widely, though the most hopeful guesses pegged the number of filings at closer to 10,000. No doubt, many advocates will be disappointed that actual number of applications is closer to a third of that.
Even though assembling an LPFM application is purposely made easier than one for a full-power non-commercial station, it still requires a degree of technical expertise. That’s why the assistance of LPFM advocacy and support groups was vital. Going by my rough count yesterday of 1,675 applicants who received such help, it looks like these groups account for 60% of all filings.
I’m sure many in the LPFM community will wish there were more applications, and some will certainly blame the government shutdown and the length of the application window for there not being more. However, given that more than a majority of applicants received expert assistance of some sort, we might see this as indication that those groups are more likely to have good applications and may be more likely to both build and sustain healthy stations.
Things will certainly get more exciting once the Commission starts processing those apps and sending out construction permits.