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FCC Approves 10-Application Limit For Upcoming Noncommercial FM Window

A 10-application precedent has prevailed at the Federal Communications Commission which has voted to adopt that limit on broadcasters in an upcoming filing window for noncommercial FMs, according to a report in InsideRadio. The decision allows the Media Bureau to move forward with the filing window, which will be the first time in more than a decade that the FCC moves to license new noncommercial FMs.

It is not the first time that a ten-application limit has been used. A similar cap was used in a 2007 noncommercial FM filing window.

With the application cap now established, the Media Bureau is moving forward for opening the filing window. The Bureau plans to accept applications for one week this fall – from November 2 to November 9. In a public notice released Wednesday, the FCC said it expected to release more detailed information about filing procedures and requirements in the coming months.

The Media Bureau said earlier that it is expecting interest in noncommercial FMs – stations between 89.1 and 91.9 FM – will be robust. While it is impossible to say precisely how many filings will be submitted, the FCC said it expects to receive a “large volume” because there is no filing fee for noncommercial FM applications, there are no ownership limits in the reserved band, and there has not been a filing window for noncommercial FMs in more than a decade. It also thinks its “simplified and clarified” rules and procedures will convince some broadcasters that would have remained on the sidelines to take a chance.

Once the process has been completed, the FCC has said it expects to open another filing window for low-power FMs. But that may not come until next year.