Applications Due Dec. 19, 2006, for March FM Auction; Upcoming Digital TV Obligations; FCC Streamlines Changes in Radio Community of License
Applications Due Dec. 19, 2006, for March FM Auction
The FCC has scheduled its latest auction of FM construction permits for March 7, 2007. In order to participate in this auction, potential bidders will need to file an electronic “short form” FCC Form 175 by 6 p.m. Eastern time on Dec. 19, 2006. No filing fee or engineering will be required at that time. However, the “upfront payment/minimum bid amount” for each station desired will have to be wired to the FCC by Feb. 5, 2007. During the auction, bids will be accepted electronically or by telephone.
A “new entrant bidding credit” will be given to those who have three or fewer other media interests (full power broadcast stations, cable systems, daily newspapers or DBS transponders), so long as none of those media interests serve the same area as the FM station on which the owner is bidding. Low power stations and translators are not considered in this analysis. The bidding credit is 35 percent for those who have no other media interests, and 25 percent for those who have an ownership interest in one, two or three other non-local mass media facilities.
Upcoming Digital TV Obligations
All digital TV licensees must electronically file FCC Form 317 by Dec. 1, indicating whether or not their stations have provided ancillary or supplementary services for the 12 month period ending September 30, 2006. If any such services were provided for a fee, licensees must submit 5 percent of their ancillary/supplementary gross revenues to the FCC using Form 159.
By Dec. 31, 2006, all DTV stations must participate in any national Emergency Alert System (EAS) activations. This means that all DTV licensees must obtain equipment that would allow their stations to monitor and transmit national EAS messages as required. Participation in state and local EAS activations will remain voluntary, but any emergency messages transmitted must be transmitted on all digital program streams.
FCC Streamlines Changes in Radio Community of License
At its public meeting on Friday, the FCC adopted a Report and Order that allows both AM and FM radio stations to change community of license by filing a minor modification application, simplifying what was formerly a two-step procedure. The FCC also established a new rule requiring those who petition for new FM stations to simultaneously file applications for those stations. This insures that those who propose new stations will also apply for them, but does not eliminate the need for an auction if there are multiple applicants.
Please contact us if you have questions or would like more information regarding any of the items discussed above.