Reposted from the September 19, 2013 post "The Low Power FM Application Window is Fast Approaching" with Updated Information
In August we had our first of two webinars on how communities and non-profit organizations can apply for new low-power FM radio station licenses during the next window, October 15 – November 14, 2013. The webinar allowed viewers to ask questions directly to Bureau staff. We were delighted to answer many questions during the session and have continued to respond to your inquiries since then. The second webinar will be held on Thursday, October 24. Before this next session, we want to give you these reminders and highlights on a number of important issues:
First and foremost, don’t forget you can start filling out your Form 318 application online now! You won’t be able to file the application until the October 15 – November 14, window, but we highly recommend you complete the entire application as soon as possible. This will allow you to avoid any last minute questions or technical issues.
Second, remember that, while you do not need a 501(c)(3) certification, you must be organized as a nonprofit educational institution, corporation, or entity under your State’s laws, as of the date of the application filing, to be eligible to apply for an LPFM license. In other words, if you have only recently filed your incorporation papers and have not received confirmation as of October 29, you will not be eligible to apply.
Third, we will permit organizations in a community to work together to file a single Form 318 application. Alternatively, organizations in a community could apply separately – for the same or different frequency – knowing that they may decide later to aggregate points so they can negotiate a time-share agreement if the Commission determines that they are tied with the highest point total in the same mutually exclusive group. (Applications are mutually exclusive if they are filed in the same window and the simultaneous operation of the proposed stations would result in one, or more, stations causing objectionable interference to another.)
Fourth, please bear in mind that it is the specified applicant on the application who must intend to carry out the station construction and operation described in the application. Therefore, multiple groups should not attempt to maximize the chances of receiving an LPFM construction permit by submitting multiple applications under the different groups’ names with a prior understanding that the groups will later share time or ownership with each other if just one applicant succeeds in getting a construction permit. If this prior understanding does exist, then all the applicants must be listed as parties to the application, and only one application can be filed (our rules only allow for one application per organization). The FCC requires applicants to be truthful when listing all the parties that have control over the applicant entity and, in the event the application is granted, would have control over the future LPFM station. Anyone who engages in application fraud is subject to significant legal sanctions, including forfeitures, application dismissals and license revocations.
Fifth, we’ve received a number of questions about the ability of schools and universities to apply for an LPFM construction permit. There are two key points to keep in mind if the applicant is a university or accredited school. First, an accredited school that has a non-student-run full power broadcast station can apply for an LPFM station, as long as the LPFM station will be managed and operated by students of that accredited school. Also, if the local campus of a larger school/university wants to apply for an LPFM construction permit, but the larger school/university already owns another media outlet (such as a full-power radio or television station), the local campus can still apply for an LPFM station, as long as the local campus is separately incorporated and has a distinct local presence and mission.
By the same token, a local chapter of a national organization can apply for an LPFM construction permit, even if the national organization owns another media outlet, as long as the local chapter is separately incorporated and has a distinct local presence and mission.
Finally, filing a Form 318 application is just the first step in getting an LPFM construction permit and eventually an LPFM license. If your Form 318 for an LPFM construction permit is granted, the next steps are: (1) begin construction; (2) obtain the station’s call sign through the broadcast call sign reservation and authorization system; and (3) when construction is finished, begin program testing and file the Form 319 application for a low power FM broadcast license.
Please note that once you begin the construction of antenna structures and broadcasting facilities, such as studios or offices, you must adhere to your local zoning and building codes or regulations. Possession of an FCC construction permit does not preempt or override your obligation to comply with local ordinances.
With the October window fast approaching, please contact Bureau staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 418-2700 if you need assistance. And we look forward to answering your further questions in the October 24 webinar.