The FCC has announced July 26 as the opening date for the first window for new FM translator applications for AM stations.
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. This window will open on July 26.
Next, there will be a settlement window to allow for non-technical settlements (Basically, "Drop out and I will reimburse your expenses.")
Technical settlements will also be allowed. As stated in the Public Notice, the technical changes must adhere to the minor change rules (+/- 1, 2, 3, 53 and 54 channels, and the proposed 60 dBu contour must intersect the original 60 dBu contour). We are working to overturn this restriction. In many areas, only a few channels are available, and they do not usually comply with the minor change rules.
In a second window, all classes of AM stations will be eligible to propose new FM translators.
Then there will be another settlement window.
Remaining unsettled conflicts would then go to auction.
All remaining 2003 translator window applications are still in the queue, and they must be protected in both windows.
The FCC will conduct one auction for all conflicts from 2003 through 2017.
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