Revision of Radio Allotment and Assignment Policies and Procedures

Womble Bond Dickinson
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The FCC has substantially revised the policies and procedures by which it chooses among mutually-exclusive applications for new and major modifications to AM stations, allots FM channels for new stations, and evaluates proposals in either band to change cities of license. Related policy changes involve translator “band-hopping” and a proposal for tribal auction bidding credits.

The changes stem from concern that the FCC’s current policies, which focus largely upon populations to be served, have resulted in an inordinate number of new services in or near large, well-served urban areas, and thus have not succeeded in effecting the mandate of §307(b) of the Communications Act, which requires a “fair, efficient and equitable distribution of radio service.” Thus, the policy modifications are intended to increase service to rural areas and to send closely-matched applications to auction (the selection method favored by Congress) rather than decide between them based upon narrow §307(b) choices.

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