FCC License Renewal Process

WLAB License Renewal Applications for Radio Broadcast Stations

All radio broadcast station licenses are scheduled to expire between 2011 and 2014.  Each AM, FM, noncommercial educational FM, FM Translator, and Low Power FM (LPFM) station must file an application for license renewal (FCC Form 303-S) four months prior to the expiration date of the station's license in accordance with the schedule set forth below.  All stations, except LPFM and FM Translator stations, also must file a Broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity Program Report (FCC Form 396) at the same time.  Noncommercial educational FM stations must additionally file an ownership report on Form 323-E at the same time.

During the license renewal process, listeners of the stations whose licenses are up for renewal may participate in the process either by filing a Petition to Deny or informal objection against a renewal.  Positive comments about a broadcaster's service may also be filed.  Procedures for filing documents with the Commission in the context of a license renewal are covered below.

Related auxiliary stations and FM Booster stations are renewed with the main station license; do not file separate renewal applications for auxiliary or FM Booster stations.  A permittee of a new radio broadcast station is not required to file a license renewal application unless a license is granted prior to the expiration date for radio stations in its particular state or jurisdiction.

License Filing Renewal Dates:

The following lists indicate license renewal application filing dates, license expiration dates, and Petition to Deny filing dates, for noncommercial educational FM, commercial AM and FM, FM Translator, and Low Power FM stations.  Renewal dates are based on the location (state, territory, etc.) of the station's community of license, not the station's transmitter site location.  Dates for radio broadcast station renewals fall between 2011 and 2014, inclusive.

STATE RENEWAL APPLICATION FILING DEADLINE: April 2, 2012

PETITION TO DENY FILING DEADLINE: July 2, 2012

LICENSE EXPIRATION  DATE: August 1, 2012
 

Petitions to Deny/Informal Objections:

A Petition to Deny or an informal objection to a radio license renewal application may be filed AFTER the filing of the license renewal application.  Notices of the filing of license renewal applications will be posted in the Broadcast Actions public notices.  CDBS on the FCC's Web site will also contain records pertaining to the license renewal application.  Petitions to Deny are considered to be timely filed with the Commission only upon receipt by the Commission at the address listed below, NOT when they are mailed or postmarked.  Petitions to Deny may not be sent via e-mail. 

The last day for filing Petitions to Deny is ONE MONTH PRIOR to the license expiration date:

o Example.  The expiration date for a station in Indiana is August 1, 2012.  The LAST DAY that a Petition to Deny may be timely filed is July 2, 2012. 
o Exception.  If the LAST DAY falls on a Saturday, Sunday, holiday, or on a date that the Commission is closed for business, the LAST DAY is extended to the first full business day thereafter. 
o Exception.  The deadline for filing Petitions to Deny against late-filed license renewal applications is the 90th day after the FCC gives public notice that it has accepted that application for filing.  If the 90th day falls on a Saturday, Sunday, holiday, or on a date that the Commission is closed for business, the LAST DAY is extended to the first full business day thereafter. 

Petition to Deny Requirements:

First, to file a Petition to Deny, a person must be a "party in interest" and have "standing."  That means, generally, that the person must have more than a passing interest in the station.  He or she must be a regular listener or have some other contact with the station that gives the petitioner a real stake in the outcome of the renewal process.  A petition must be supported by an affidavit of a person or persons with personal knowledge of the allegations of fact contained in the petition.  Additionally, a Petition to Deny a license renewal must be "timely" filed at least one month prior to the license expiration date, as explained in the previous paragraph.  Finally, the petition must contain a certification that a copy of the petition was mailed to the station.  Failure to include the certification that a copy was mailed to the station and the affidavit of personal knowledge will result in dismissal of the Petition to Deny. 

Procedure for Filing Informal Objections.  A person or entity opposing the grant of a station's license renewal application may file an informal objection against the license renewal application at any time prior to staff action on the license renewal application.  An informal objection is less formal than a Petition to Deny, but some requirements still apply.  It may take the form of a letter signed by the objector and mailed or delivered to one of the FCC addresses above.  An informal objection need not contain the affidavit required for a Petition to Deny.  It should, however, contain sufficient information to establish any violation alleged.  Additionally, an informal objection not received by the time the station's license renewal is granted will not be considered. 

Filing Positive Comments.  Affirmative comments concerning a licensee's service during the prior license term should be filed by the Petition to Deny deadline through the Office of the Secretary at the addresses listed in the next section.
 

Mailing Address for Petitions to Deny, Informal Objections, and Comments:

When filing Petitions to Deny, informal objections, or positive comments, please include an original and two copies of any filing. As indicated above, an additional copy of any filing may need to be served on (mailed to) the station licensee via a separate mailing. Send the documents to the locations listed herein:  Addresses for filing documents with the FCC.

Additional Suggestions for Filers.  To help the staff expeditiously associate a Petition to Deny, informal objection, or positive comment with the proper license renewal application, the pleading should prominently identify:

1. The station's call sign;
2. The station's facility ID number;
3. The license renewal application file number.

This information, which is available on CDBS through the Commission's Web site, should be listed on the first page of the submission.  The filing must also state whether it is a Petition to Deny, Informal Objection, or a comment.   If a cover sheet is used, it should be attached to each copy of the pleading.  Failure to include this information may cause delays in associating a pleading with a license renewal application.

Additional Information about Radio Broadcast Station Renewals:

Questions may be directed to radioren@fcc.gov.  Please provide sufficient information so that your inquiry can be answered promptly. For more information about this issue, please call the Audio Division at (202) 418-2700.

Posted on Feb 2, 2012 | General | Don Buettner

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