In 2010, the Federal Communications Commission established a Tribal Radio Priority to expand the number of radio stations owned by American Indian Tribes broadcasting to Tribal lands. The Tribal Priority is a FCC rule through which Tribes or Tribally owned or controlled entities may more easily obtain broadcast radio licenses in both the AM and FM bands. The Tribal Priority is intended not only to provide radio service tailored to specific Tribal needs and cultures, but to increase ownership of such radio stations by Tribes and Tribally owned entities. In doing so, the Tribal Priority also fosters localism and diversity of ownership.
The FCC is opening a new window in the spirit of its “expedited Auction 83 licensing initiative” which is part of the LPFM proceeding. It gives proponents of translator CPs which are not mutually exclusive to any other applicants the chance to file for CPs. Since these are singleton applicants, they will not be subjected to a future auction. The “filing window” will be open through 3/28 for 713 singleton applicants to submit their long forms. This is a huge step in clearing the backlog of thousands of applications from the 2003 “Great Translaot Invasion”. It will clear the way for an LPFM radio filing window later this year.
The FCC stated, “This window is limited to timely filed proposals which are not mutually exclusive with any other applications submitted in the Auction 83 Filing Window and specify transmitter site locations which are (1) outside all Spectrum Limited markets and (2) not within 39 km of any Spectrum Limited market grid. These ‘singleton’ applications are exempt from the Commission’s auction procedures.”
Applicants may make minor amendments (including channel changes) as long as the designated LPFM channel/points are protected as well as in compliance with the Top-50 preclusion rule. This may impact the available LPFM channels (ie; they may change). The FCC requires a Form 349 for each eligible facility by 3/28/13.
Fourteen broadcasters are asking the federal appeals court to compel the FCC to return thousands of dollars in auction fees back to broadcasters.
A decision could potentially affect all broadcasters that took part in spectrum auctions from 2000 to 2011.
High bidders in FCC spectrum auctions don’t need to submit an additional application filing fee with their long-form applications, according to the filing, yet the agency compelled broadcasters submit the fee. The broadcasters
want a total of about $82,000 returned.
The groups say in the petition the FCC ignored its own rules when the agency collected application fees for 11 spectrum auctions from 2000 to 2011. The group tells the court the refund request has been pending since August 2011. Action on that request has been “unreasonably delayed,” writes Fletcher Heald’s Harry Cole, Anne Goodwin Crump and Dan Kirkpatrick.
“Petitioners have requested refund of their fees, but the FCC has failed to act on their requests, even though it is clear from the commission’s own rules and actions that collection of petitioners’ fees was unlawful in the first place and that refund is therefore mandated. Under the circumstances, judicial relief is warranted,” state the attorneys for the broadcast groups.Read the Full Article in Radio World Magazine:
The FCC has not responded to the filing, but it doesn’t have to unless or until the court orders the agency to respond, according to Cole, who also tells Radio World there is no deadline for any action with this kind of petition.