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FCC Offers Guidance for LPFM Hopefuls and Begins to Dismiss Faulty Applications

#lpfmLow power FM (LPFM) applicants are on pins and needles as they await word about applications that were filed in the recently closed window. In order to answer some of the burning questions and give a sense of timing, today the FCC released a notice (PDF) offering guidance for LPFM applicants. The notice also provides some interesting statistics about the applicant pool.

We now know that more than 2800 applications were received, which includes 21 applications for major modifications of current LPFM stations. Additionally, the notice reveals the top states as far as LPFM applications go. The stations with the most LPFM applicants include Texas (303), California (283), Florida (276), Oregon (91), Georgia (81) and Washington (81). Additionally, there are seven cities in which at least 10 applicants are seeking LPFM licenses. Those top cities are: Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Miami, Tampa, and Portland (Oregon). We’ve already delved into the applicant pools in Los Angeles and San Francisco and will be taking a closer look at the other top cities in future posts.

As has been predicted, the FCC is reiterating that acceptable LPFM applications without any competition in a given market (singletons) will be fast-tracked, with some new station construction permits being issued as early as January, 2014. According to the notice, “The Bureau has identified approximately nine hundred technically acceptable LPFM applications which are not in conflict with any other application, i.e., singleton applications. The staff has begun to change the status of these applications from ‘received’ to ‘accepted for filing’ in CDBS. The daily Broadcast Applications Public Notice announces this action and starts the 30-day period for the filing of petitions to deny.” All notices can be found in the FCC’s Daily Digest. Anyone who takes issue with an application can file an official complaint (petition to deny) as soon as the application is marked “accepted for filing.”

By the end of this month, the FCC also expects to issue a public notice (PN) about the mutually exclusive (MX) applicant groups so that applicants can see an official list of who is in competition for the same licenses. REC Networks has already compiled some of this data preliminarily, so groups are starting to get a sneak preview of this list. The FCC notes that applicants are welcome to “…communicate with each other at any time before or after the release of the MX Group PN to explore options for resolving application conflicts through settlements and/or technical amendments. Applicants also have the option of entering into partial or universal voluntary time-share agreements.” More in-depth information about this can be found in today’s public notice.

The FCC has also been gradually dismissing faulty LPFM applicants. Some of the reasons for dismissal include the applicant filing more than one application and individuals filing instead of non-profit groups. Some of the recently dismissed applicants include Music New Mexico Style (it had submitted numerous applications throughout New Mexico) and an array of individual applicants, including Stephanie Chi-Hui Chang in San Jose, California and Fausto J. Ortiz in New York City.

At Radio Survivor we will continue to monitor developments on the LPFM application front and will be bringing you regular updates on Thursdays, as well as additional breaking news as it happens

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