With Auction 93 fast approaching, the Commission has frozen, effective immediately (i.e., as of October 24, 2011):
- All applications proposing to modify any of the 123 vacant non-reserved band FM allotments scheduled for Auction 93 (currently slated to kick off next March 27);
- All petitions and counterproposals that propose a change in channel, class, community, or reference coordinates for any of the Auction 93 Allotments; and
- All applications, petitions and counterproposals that fail to fully protect any of the Auction 93 Allotments.
Filings in any of the above categories that happen to be submitted after the release of the FCC’s public notice will be dismissed. (Can’t remember what channels are up for grabs in Auction 93? Click here for the current list.) This freeze will remain in effect until the day after the deadline for Auction 93 long form applications – which will likely be sometime in early Summer, 2012, at the earliest.
Curiously, the freeze notice does not announce a freeze on any and all minor mod applications (for commercial or noncommercial stations) during the filing window for short form (Form 175) applications for Auction 93. (The Form 175 filing window hasn’t been announced yet – look for that announcement in a couple of weeks.) Such blanket freezes barring all minor mods during the Short Form window have been standard operating procedure in the last three FM auctions (those would be Auction 70, Auction 79 and Auction 91). Given that precedent, if you have a minor mod you’d like to file that doesn’t fit into any of the three freeze categories noted above, you might want to plan on getting it filed before the opening of the Form 175 filing period, just to be on the safe side. Otherwise, your ability to file could be delayed by a month or more. Check back here for updates on the auction schedule.
Freezes like this are routine when it comes to broadcast auctions. The goal is to avoid the creation of any conflicts (unforeseeable or otherwise) with auction proposals that could muck up the auction process.
For more information on Auction 93 itself, see our related post here.