FCC Announces AM Station Filing Window For FM Translators

The FCC has announced two filing windows for AM station licensees to apply to modify and/or relocate an FM translator up to 250 miles so that the translator can rebroadcast the AM station as a “fill-in” translator. The first window will be from January 29, 2016 – July 28, 2016, and will allow Class C and Class D AM stations to file applications to apply to relocate and modify FM translator stations now authorized to operate within the non-reserved FM band (92.1 – 107.9 MHz). The second modification window will be from July 29, 2016 – October 31, 2016 and will be available for AM stations of any class to apply to relocate and modify non-reserved band FM translators. Applicants in either window can propose to modify an FM translator’s frequency to any available non-reserved band frequency in the AM station’s primary service area. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Only one application may be filed by each individual AM station.

The FCC has created an online tool to help AM station licensees locate FM translators that could potentially be relocated to an AM station’s service area. The “Translator Search Tool” will help AM station licensees identify all FM translators within a 250-mile radius, and will also identify open channels that might be available for use by an FM translators at a given location.

The FCC’s Public Notice announcing the filing windows has an extensive Q&A section to help potential applicants prepare for the filing process.

The two filing windows are the first step in the FCC’s plans to help revitalize the AM broadcast band. Other steps the FCC is taking are summarized in our memo of October 28, 2015, available here.

If you would like more information about the filing windows or the AM revitalization process, please contact any attorney in our office.

Categories: Media