The FCC now allows two-step minor-change upgrades and relocations.
You may now change a full-power FM station to a non-mutually-exclusive channel as a minor change. Many restrictions apply.
In Docket 05-210, released 11/29/2006, a little-noticed provision allows full-power FM stations much greater freedom to change frequencies than was previously allowed.
Under the old rule, an FM station could change only to a mutually exclusive (MX) channel. The MX channels are +/- 1, 2, 3, 53, and 54 channels. No station has all of these options. For example, a station at the top of the band on channel 300 (107.9) only has -1, -2, -3, -53, and -54 channels as MX options. If the change involved a relocation, the new facility had to be at a distance from the existing facility that would be prohibited under the Commission's Rules. Distance requirements vary with the classes of the current and proposed facilities and the channels involved. This rule still is available.
The new twist is that if the station's Class and Principal Community remain the same, you can move to any available channel, not only the MX channels.
This means that you now have the freedom to perform multiple-step upgrades.
For example, you own a Class A station on channel 227 in Yourtown. You wish to change channels to 289, upgrade it to Class C2, and license it to Mytown.
There was no way under the old MX rule to do this as a minor change.
Under the new rule, you can change your station to channel 289 in Yourtown, and then apply under the old rule to move it to Mytown as a C3. Both modifications are minor changes.
Note: The above explanation is a much simplified scenario. Each case is unique, and each case must be studied thoroughly.
Please contact us for an assessment of your stations.
Skywaves Consulting LLC
PO Box 4
Millbury, MA 01527-0004