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Regulations FAQs

Licensing and Renewal

How do I buy a new station?: As a general rule, all applications for new stations or major changes for commercial stations are subject to auction and/or the opening of a filing window.

Applications must be filed to construct a new station, change a station’s facilities (modification), or sell or transfer control of a facility to another party and to renew the station’s authorization. With the exception of AM license applications, all applications are required to be filed electronically in the FCC’s CDBS filing system. Also, applications for new stations or major changes are limited to window filing periods and are subject to auctions where there are mutually exclusive filings. Once an application is filed with the Commission and the filing fee has been paid, it will appear on the FCC’s online database as having been “Accepted for Filing.” This only indicates that the application has been received by the FCC. Such acceptance does not mean that the Commission might not later dismiss the application. Once any application has been filed with the Commission, the applicant is under a continuing responsibility to maintain the accuracy and completeness of the information in the file. Any material change must be reported to the Commission within 30 days.

Construction Permits ("CPs"): The basic application form for constructing or making modifications to an AM, FM or TV station is FCC Form 301. Once granted, construction permits are valid for a total period of three years and although extensions of time were frequently granted by the Commission in the past, the Commission has determined not to permit extensions in the future (effective February 16, 1999). Under certain limited and compelling circumstances, however, it may be possible to toll the construction period, provided that the permittee files promptly to report the event requiring the tolling. As a general rule, however, if construction cannot be completed within the three year period, the CP will be lost.

Program Tests: Once construction of a new station is complete, some permittees will be allowed to conduct program tests.

  1. Unless otherwise stated as a condition on the construction permit, the permittee of a nondirectional AM, FM or NCE FM station, or a nondirectional TV station or a Class A TV station may begin program tests upon notification to the FCC, provided that it files for its license within 10 days of beginning program tests. This is known as automatic program test authority, or PTA.
  2. The permittee of an AM or FM station with a directional antenna system must file an application for license requesting program test authority with the FCC at least 10 days before it wants to conduct program tests. The applicant must file proof of antenna performance with the program test request.
  3. Program test authority is automatically terminated by final action upon the application for station license. It can be terminated or suspended if the FCC finds problems with the manner in which the station was constructed.

Station Licenses: Once construction of a station is completed in accordance with the construction permit, the permittee must file an application for a license. AM permittees must use FCC Form 302-AM; FM permittees must use FCC Form 302-FM; DTV permittees must use FCC Form 302-DTV and Class A TV permittees must use FCC Form 302-CA. Since the Commission will reject applications submitted on out-dated forms, it is imperative that the most current FCC form be used. FCC forms are available either through your attorney or through the “Forms” hyperlink on the FCC Web Page at http://www.fcc.gov. The permittee of a new AM, FM or TV station must also file an Ownership Report (FCC 323) or a certification of “no change” when it files its license application.

Modification of Existing Facilities:: The basic application for making changes to a facility is made on FCC Form 301. As a general rule, major changes are limited to window filing periods and subject to auctions.

Renewal of License (FCC 303-S): All AM, FM, DTV, FM and TV translators, Low Power TV and International broadcasting stations licensed after October 1, 1996, have licenses for a term of eight (8) years. Each full service station must be renewed separately on its own FCC Form 303-S. Associated FM and TV translator licenses may be renewed on the parent station’s FCC form 303-S. Broadcast auxiliary licenses are automatically renewed when the parent station’s license is renewed.

When do I renew my stations' license?: All AM, FM, DTV, FM and TV translators, Low Power TV and International broadcasting stations licensed after October 1, 1996, have licenses for a term of eight (8) years. Each full service station must be renewed separately on its own FCC Form 303-S. Associated FM and TV translator licenses may be renewed on the parent station’s FCC form 303-S. Broadcast auxiliary licenses are automatically renewed when the parent station’s license is renewed.