The FCC has announced that applicants who filed during the recent noncommercial educational (NCE) FM filing window may settle with mutually exclusive (MX) applicants and receive expedited processing of their proposals as long as the settlement agreements and any related technical amendments are filed by January 7, 2008. (Of course, as the Commission’s public notice acknowledges, mutually exclusive applicants may settle at any time – not just within this prescribed window – but the FCC has indicated that settlements filed by January 7 will receive expedited processing.)

In order to take advantage of this window opportunity, applicants may resolve technical mutual exclusivity by one of two methods: (a) settlement or (b) technical amendment.

A settlement must propose the grant of at least one technically acceptable application with an MX group and must not create any new MX conflicts. All settlements are subject to reimbursement restrictions – that is, neither the applicant nor any of its principals may received (or be promised) consideration in excess of the legitimate and prudent expenses incurred in the preparation, filing, prosecution and settling of the application.

Technical amendments must resolve all conflicts between at least one applicant and all other applications filed in the window. Only "minor" engineering amendments will be accepted. Such amendments would include specification of an adjacent channel, a new transmitter site, lower power, and the like.

A copy of the Commission’s announcement – which specifies a number of filing requirements associated with the submission of settlements – may be found here.

According to the public notice, all applications filed during the October, 2007 window are being made publicly available as of November 8. However, a public notice identifying the various MX groups of applications will not be released until after the close of the settlement window. In other words, it’s up to the applicants to determine any and all pending MX proposals for settlement purposes.