It’s not necessarily as easy as you might expect.

AM Revitalizationcouple of weeks ago we reported that the effective date for revised Section 73.1560 and the new Form 338– had been announced in the Federal Register. (Short term memory problems? That date is March 3, 2016.) The FCC has now reconfirmed the date in a public notice providing directions on how to file Form 338 when the time comes. Pay attention because, as it turns out, this is not your standard CDBS filing.

Form 338, of course, is the new form for AM licensees who choose to use Modulation Dependent Carrier Level (MDCL) control technology. As of March 3, those licensees will, without prior FCC approval, be able to operate with MDCL gear, provided that, within 10 days of commencement of such operation, they file Form 338 (full name: “FCC Form 338, AM Station MDCL Notification”).

To get that form filed, first you will have to download a hard copy of the form. It will be available on the FCC’s website. Don’t bother to try finding it right now – we just did (immediately before posting this on Feburary 18), and the link provided by the FCC didn’t work … yet. We’re reasonably confident that it’ll be available by the effective date. If you want to see what the form looks like before it shows up on the FCC’s website, you can find a copy through the OMB website (since OMB had to approve the form in the first place). The form is pretty straightforward: you provide routine identification information, the date MDCL operation started and the transmitter gear you’re using, you make a couple of routine certifications, you sign and date it, and voilà, a completed form!

Well, not quite.Once you’re this far, you’ll also have to scan it so that you can upload it to the FCC.

With the form filled out, signed and scanned, you’re going to need to go to the FCC’s ECFS filing siteNOT CDBS. According to the FCC, here’s what to do next:

  1. On left side of page, select “Submit a Non-Docketed Filing”
  2. Using the dropdown box for “Inbox” select “Form 338: AM Station MDCL Notification”
  3. Complete “Contact Info”
  4. For “Filing Type” select “Other”
  5. Complete “Address”
  6. For “Document” attach a completed FCC Form 338
  7. Select “Continue”
  8. Select “Confirm”

No filing fee is necessary. Once you have completed the last step, ECFS should give you a “confirmation” screen indicating that you have navigated the process successfully. We strongly recommend that you make a screen grab of that page and keep it available to demonstrate that you did what you were supposed to do. You will also want to put a copy of the completed Form 338 as filed in your local public inspection file.

The Media Bureau staff must be sensitive to the fact that this is one of the very few broadcast forms not filed through CDBS. We know this because the public notice expressly warns that

Only FCC Form 338 may be filed using this procedure. If any other filings are submitted to this ECFS Inbox using this procedure, they will be deleted from ECFS without staff review or action.

We’re not sure why the Bureau thinks that warning is necessary, but we pass it along to you, just in case.