FM Broadcast Auction on the Horizon
On October 10, 2019, the FCC announced that it will hold a full-power FM Broadcast auction for 130 new construction permits starting on April 28, 2020. For now, the FCC is seeking comment on the procedures for the auction, although it does not propose any significant changes from past FM broadcast auctions. In connection with the auction, the FCC also announced a filing freeze prohibiting minor change applications, petitions, or counter-proposals directly affecting or failing to protect the construction permits to be auctioned.
A majority of the construction permits will be for lower-power Class A facilities, but there are 28 new facilities that are authorized to operate at 25 kW or higher. For example, a Class B facility in Sacramento will be available, along with stations on the outskirts of major cities like Dallas and Seattle. Overall, Texas is home to the most available permits (32), with numerous opportunities also available in Wyoming (11), California (10), and Arizona (8).
Parties seeking to file comments regarding the list of available construction permits and/or the auction procedures should submit them by November 6, 2019. Reply comments are due November 20, 2019. After reviewing the record, the FCC will release the final list of available permits and auction procedures, most likely in early January 2020.