FCC Proposes to Streamline Noncommercial and Low Power Licensing Procedures

The Federal Communications Commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking aimed at streamlining and improving the rules and procedures for processing and licensing competing applications for new noncommercial educational (NCE) broadcast and low power FM (LPFM) stations. Among other things, the NPRM tentatively proposes to:

  • Eliminate the current requirement that NCE applicants amend their governing documents to pledge that localism/diversity be maintained in order to receive points as “established local applicants” and for “diversity of ownership”
  • Improve the NCE tie-breaker process and reduce the need for mandatory time-sharing
  • Clarify aspects of the “holding period” rule by which NCE permittees must maintain the characteristics for which they received comparative preferences and points
  • Reclassify as “minor” gradual changes in governing boards with respect to non-stock and membership LPFM and NCE applicants
  • Extend the LPFM construction period from 18-months to a full three years
  • Allow the assignment/transfer of LPFM construction permits after an 18-month holding period and eliminate the three-year holding period on assigning LPFM licenses.

FCC Proposes to Streamline NCE FM & LPFM Licensing Procedures