Oct. 7, 2013
In this week’s issue… FCC shutdown imperils LPFM window, enforcement efforts – Boston talker ousted – Franken-FM launches in Syracuse – NY station owner sells – Maine tower down
By SCOTT FYBUSH
*In just a few short months, this column will celebrate its twentieth anniversary. A lot has changed in those twenty years: we’ve expanded our coverage beyond New England, we’re not distributed via Usenet anymore, your editor no longer has a full head of hair- but one thing has remained constant: 51 weeks a year, one of the first things we do when we sit down to assemble this report for you is to peruse the FCC’s Daily Digests (and more recently, its entire CDBS database system) to tease out the latest news of proposed station sales, technical upgrades, silent STAs and so much more.
This week is different. With a government shutdown having reduced the FCC to the thinnest of skeleton staffs – three commissioners and a handful of security and IT people – there’s nothing happening at the Portals.
In the short term, at least where the FCC is concerned, the shutdown is little more than a blip; after all, the reason we only hit the FCC filings 51 weeks each year is that on the 52nd week, between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the FCC already shuts down.
But if the shutdown continues for more than a few days, as is seeming increasingly likely, the effects on the broadcast community could become very visible, very quickly. A few of the areas we’re keeping an eye on right now include:
The LPFM window: Every consulting engineer we know has been spending the last few months in a frenzy of preparation for the FCC’s next planned filing window. Tentatively set to open October 15, the FCC’s LPFM window is expected to fill almost every remaining niche on what’s already a jam-packed FM dial. That’s meant lots of work on behalf of potential LPFM applicants, many of whom have stretched their finances thin to pay for engineering and filing services, as well as even more work on behalf of commercial broadcasters to make sure pending translator applications are maximized before new LPFMs foreclose on any future upgrade opportunities. It’s now all but certain that the October 15th filing date will have to slide, perhaps considerably: even if the FCC were able to resume its work today, it’s still not done sorting out all of the remaining pending applications from the 2003 “Great Translator Invasion” window, and those have to be resolved before the LPFM window can open. Even granted that potential LPFM applicants have already had to be extraordinarily patient waiting for a window to open, how many will lack the resources to wait out an even longer delay now? How many paid premium prices for rush work as the filing window neared, only to be stalled out?
More here: http://www.fybush.com/nerw-20131007/
Via Sharon Mahoney, David Hall