Same as the old e-filing system? Maybe not. All broadcast forms will be reduced to a single form – plus schedules, of course.

The Media Bureau has announced the partial debut of the “Licensing and Management System” (LMS), an online filing system which, eventually, will replace the current system (i.e., the Consolidated Database System –what we know and love as CDBS) that’s been in operation since the turn of the century.

So CDBS may not be long for this world. Just how long will depend on how long the FCC takes to set up the necessary filing capabilities in LMS. But enough have been set up so far to open the doors for two specific types of applications.

In this case, full-power TV licensees and permittees are the ones on the cutting edge of technology: if you’re a full-power TV licensee or permittee and you need to file for a construction permit or covering license, you’ll be the first to experience LMS. That’s because, as of October 2, 2014, full-power TV folks in that position will have to file not a Form 301 (for a CP) or 302-DT (for a license), but a whole new Form 2100 (for either). And you’ll be filing that through LMS, not CDBS. In fact, as of October 2, CDBS won’t even be an option for such applications.

All broadcasters should get used to the notion of having to file Form 2100 because the Bureau’s goal is to reduce ALL broadcast applications to that single form.

The “main portion” of the form will require “general information common to all broadcast applications”. Applicants will then include along with that main portion a “schedule” consisting of information specific to the particular type of application being filed. Schedule A is for full-power TV construction permits; Schedule B is for full-power TV licenses.

More schedules will be added on an ongoing basis. As those schedules are developed, we’ll be advised through a series of public notices until, eventually, LMS will be capable of handling all of the forms currently in CDBS. That will then be the death of CDBS – long live LMS! 

But let’s not write any teary-eyed obits for CDBS quite yet. The move away from CDBS has been in the works for more than five years already. After all that time, LMS is rolling out with only two schedules (f/k/a applications), which leaves more than 30 to go, by our count. We probably shouldn’t hold our breath waiting for all the rest to be up and running.

And even the modest roll-out is less than auspicious. In its announcement, the Bureau advised that Form 2100 is available at the FCC’s website. Um, not really. We checked the FCC’s website about five hours after the public notice hit our inbox, and Form 2100 was nowhere to be found. The public notice also provided a link to LMS. That link did indeed take us to the LMS portal, but we couldn’t get past the front door. While our inability to check out the new form and the new filing system is likely only a temporary problem, it was disappointing nonetheless.

On the positive side, though, it appears that LMS will be accessed with only an FRN and FRN password. No more CDBS account numbers and passwords to remember!

Obviously, readers should check back with us for updates.