As we predicted here just a month ago, the FCC has adopted a limit on the number of applications which any party may file for new stations in the NCE FM window which is slated to open on October 12 and close on October 19. The limit is TEN – count ’em, TEN – applications for new stations. The FCC’s public notice announcing this decision may be found here.
This means that any party, be that party an individual, corporation, partnership, or whatever, may hold an attributable interest in no more than a total of ten applications for new stations to be filed during the window.
If the FCC determines that a party happens to have such interests in more than ten, then only the first ten (based on file numbers, which reflect the order in which applications are filed) will be processed; the rest will be summarily dumped by the Commission.
Note that the limit applies only to applications for new stations filed during the October, 2007 window. Major mod applications (which may also be filed during the window) do NOT count toward the limit. Similarly, any already pending application which was not filed during the October, 2007 window does NOT count toward the limit.
As a general matter in the FCC’s eyes, a party has an "attributable interest" in an application if the party is the applicant, or an officer, director or 5% or greater owner of the applicant. Narrow exceptions exist for certain "limited partners" or members of "limited liability companies" – but if an applicant hopes to take advantage of those exceptions, special care should be taken and the fine print of the FCC’s rules should be consulted.
Complicating matters further, interests may be attributed indirectly. F’rinstance, let’s say A owns 10% of company X, which owns 60% of company Y, which owns 25% of an applicant. In cases like that, the FCC applies a multiplier: thus, X’s interest in the applicant would be a respectable – and attributable – 25% (i.e., the same as Y’s interest because X’s interest in Y exceeds 50%), while A’s interest in the applicant would be a non-attributable 2.5% (i.e., 0.1 x 0.25).