Effective dates, comment deadlines now set

It’s been nearly three months since the FCC released its long-awaited AM Revitalization Order. And while the Audio Division staff has done what it could in terms of moving things along, the full range of regulatory changes adopted by the Commission have not taken effect yet because the FCC’s Order had not yet been published in the Federal Register. Frustrating as it may be for both affected industry participants and the Audio Division staff who are keen on getting the new rules working, this niggling detail is a necessary predicate to the effectiveness of the rules. (The problem, it appears, involved some delay in bureaucratic processes outside the control of the Audio Division.)

But wait no more! Both the adopted and the proposed rules have now been published in the Federal Register. While the FCC technically adopted and released a single document encompassing both, the separate components of the order have (as is customary for Federal Register purposes) been split up. You can find the Report and Order (discussing the adopted changes) here, and the proposed changes here.

As a result, we now know that the effective date of the new and revised rules will be February 18, 2016. The one exception: revised Section 73.1560, which will have to be shipped over to the Office of Management and Budget for its approval, thanks to our old friend, the hilariously-named Paperwork Reduction Act.

February 18 will also be the deadline for any petitions for reconsideration that anybody might be inclined to file with the Commission. And the Federal Register publication also starts the clock running on the judicial appeal process. If you’re thinking about taking the new rules to court, you’ve got until March 21 (unless you’re hoping to get your appeal heard in a particular Federal Circuit, in which case you should take a look at the process for trying to make that happen).

As for the proposed rules, you’ve got until March 21, 2016 to file comments and April 18 for replies.