The FCC recently announced that August 2, 2024, is the effective date of its newly reinstated programming non-duplication rule for commercial FM stations. As we have previously noted here, that rule, which was reinstated in a June 2024 Reconsideration Order, prohibits commonly owned or operated commercial FM stations with overlapping service contours from duplicating more than 25% of their programming. The FCC repealed the rule in August 2020, but reinstated it in response to requests from music industry groups and LPFM interests.

Commercial FM stations currently duplicating more than 25% of station programming will have a six month grace period (until February 3, 2025) to comply or to request a waiver to continue that level of duplicated programming.  The FCC “strongly encourages” stations filing waiver requests to do so by October 31, 2024, though waiver requests filed after that time will be considered. The FCC will permit FM stations currently employing duplication that exceeds the 25% duplication allowance to continue to transmit their programming in excess of the 25% duplication allowance unless and until the waiver request is denied. In the event that the FCC denies such a waiver, it may grant additional time, not to exceed six months, for the licensee to come into compliance with the nonduplication rule. In addition, the general process for seeking a waiver of the reinstated rule will continue to remain available beyond, and apart from, the grace period and ninety-day recommendation for requesting a waiver.  So, licensees of FM stations that seek to commence exceeding the 25% programming duplication limit in the future may seek a waiver at that time.

Please contact us if you have any questions, or would like to file for a waiver.