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Strategic Technical Planning for Broadcasters
 

 Headlines:

Effective date April 10.
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2017 has arrived, and with it the promise of new FM translators for AM stations.
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2017 Window for AM Stations to Propose New FM Translators

01/02/2017
2017 has arrived, and with it the promise of new FM translators for AM stations.

The 2016 windows, which are now closed, allowed AM stations to propose relocating existing translators on commercial frequencies up to 250 miles.

The 2017 windows will allow AM stations to propose new FM translators. 

Unlike the 2016 window, in which all applications were considered to be first-come, first-served minor changes and extended for many months, the 2017 windows will be auction proceedings in which competing applications will be considered as having been filing contemporaneously. Applicants will be prohibited from communicating with other applicants, except within a settlement window.

First, Class C and Class D AM stations will be eligible to propose new FM translators.

Next, there should be a settlement window to allow for technical settlements ("I'll take 92.1, you keep 107.3" or "I'll propose a directional antenna pointed east if you propose a directional antenna pointed west") and non-technical settlements ("Drop out and I will reimburse your expenses.")

Then, all classes of AM stations will be eligible to propose new FM translators.

Then another settlement window.

Remaining unsettled conflicts would then go to auction.

With a number of 2003 translator window applications still in the queue, it is not clear whether these applications will need to go to auction before the 2017 window opens. It is also not certain whether an auction will be required between the two windows. 

It may be that the FCC will conduct one auction at the end of the 2017 windows for all conflicts from 2003 through 2017. Procedurally, that would be the most efficient result, but disposing of all potentially conflicting applications before the opening of each of the 2017 windows would result in more frequencies being available.

Stay tuned.

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