FCC Streamlines FM Allotment Processes for Native Americans

The FCC has further streamlined its procedures for encouraging federally-recognized Native American Tribes and Alaska Native Villages (“Tribes”) to obtain new FM facilities.

In early 2010 the Commission established a Tribal Priority intended to enable Tribes to provide radio service to their communities and, more generally, to expand the diversity of radio ownership and programming. Early this year, the FCC took its first steps toward implementation, in which it established a § 307(b) preference for the AM and noncommercial FM services and proposed an auction bidding credit for commercial FM facilities. However, it has come to regard the bidding credit as insufficient, as others could outbid a Tribe. Instead, the FCC now has crafted an approach for commercial FM allotments based on threshold qualification. These procedures include its initial plan for allotting new commercial channels advocated by a qualified Tribal entity.

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