The Federal Communications Commission has identified clusters of Mutually Exclusive (MX) application groups for Low Power FM signals in United States markets. What is an MX group? Well, it all depends on who you ask. Here’s the FCC’s definition:
“When the distance between two window applications does not meet the minimum distance separation requirements specified in 47 C.F.R. § 73.807, the applications are treated as MX. An MX group consists of all applications which are MX to at least one other application in the group.”
In case you are still scratching your head after reading the above, here’s the Broadcast Law Blog’s definition: “those groups where applications are for the same or adjacent channels where the grant of one application in the group would preclude other applications in that same group.”
Here is REC Networks’ summary: “When the FCC has a filing window, there’s a possibility that two or more applications were filed that would not be able to be granted because each application would specify facilities that would conflict with each other. These applications are referred to as ‘mutually exclusive’ or ‘MX’ for short.”
And here’s the Prometheus Radio Project’s explanation: “A group of applications competing for the same frequency is called a ‘MX group.’ If there is a MX group competing for one frequency, the point system is used to rule out applicants (see Point System).”
What I take from these snippets is that LPFM MX groups can be understood as clusters of applicants who have applied for the same LPFM frequency or for a signal too close for comfort to another, in the FCC’s estimation.
Many urban areas have very large MX clusters, some of which we have already identified. Los Angeles, for example, has a cluster of 15 applicants for one channel. Chicago has a group of clusters, one of which consists of five applicants. San Francisco has a big applicant cluster.
Moving right along, the Birmingham, Alabama region has a cluster of seven hopefuls. The Atlanta, Georgia area has a ten applicant cluster. The Orlando, Florida region looks particularly gnarly, with 17 applicants for three channels. St. Petersburg, Florida has a six applicant cluster, as does Louisville, Kentucky. Boston, Massachusetts has an MX of ten filings. The St. Paul/Minneapolis has a nine filing cluster. An area around Flushing, Queens (New York) has seven. Philadelphia has two clusters of more than ten applicants each. Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee have two seven applicant clusters, respectively. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin area has a nine applicant cluster. The Seattle, Washington region has all kinds of little clusters, ranging from seven to two applicants in size.
Texas is its own special category. Dallas/Fort Worth has a 14 filing MX cluster. Houston has two clusters of eight and five applicants. The Austin and San Antonio regions have clusters of six filers each. Lots of smaller Lone Star state cities have clusters, too.
Applicants can respond to these cluster identifications in three ways. They can add technical amendments their filings, they can negotiate with each other about various concerns, or they can propose voluntary time-sharing arrangements for a particular frequency. They have sixty days from Monday to do so.