On April 21, 2021, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing an upcoming filing window to submit applications for new noncommercial educational (NCE) FM station construction permits.  The filing window will open at 12:01 am EDT on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, and close at 6:00 pm EST on Tuesday, November 9, 2021.  (Applications filed in this window are NOT first-come, first-served.) The window is available for FM reserved band 88.1 to 91.9 MHz, consisting Channels 201 to 220.  Any applications submitted before the window opens, or after the 6:00 pm EST deadline on November 9, 2021 will be dismissed without further consideration.

New NCE FM applications must be filed electronically on FCC Form 2100, Schedule 340 in the FCC Media Bureau’s Licensing and Management System (LMS). Paper filed applications will not be considered, and applicants are limited to filing no more than 10 applications. There is no filing fee.

First time applicants should note that:

  • NCE stations are licensed only to non-profit educational organizations (not individuals);
  • NCE FM new station licensing opportunities are more readily available in rural areas and smaller communities;
  • The FCC does not publish a list of available frequencies or otherwise provide tools to locate available frequencies; and
  • Applicants generally retain legal counsel and engineering consultants to assist in preparing certain portions of the application.

The FCC recently amended its rules and procedures for filing NCE FM applications and selecting and licensing competing NCE FM applications.  Detailed information about filing procedures and eligibility requirements are available at https://www.fcc.gov/document/nce-fm-new-station-filing-procedures-november-2021-window. You may visit https://www.commlawblog.com/2021/04/articles/fcc/dates-announced-for-non-commercial-educational-station-filing-window/ to view a previous post we shared.

In conjunction with this filing window, the FCC has frozen FM reserved band minor change applications and FM non-reserved band adjacent channels (channels 221 – 223) and intermediate frequency (channels 254 – 274) minor change applications as of 11:59 p.m. EDT, October 4, 2021. The freeze will continue until the close of the NCE filing window.