FCC Reinstates Upstate NY FM Allocation, Changes Procedures On Vacant Allotments
January 27, 2011 at 4:17 AM (PT)
The FCC has rescinded the allocation of an FM frequency to MORRISONVILLE, NY and reinstated an allocation at KEESEVILLE, NY in an action that also involves a change in FCC procedure regarding reallotment, down-grade, or deletion of a vacant FM allotment.
The immediate case involved the FCC's allocation of Channel 231A to KEESEVILLE over a competing proposal to move Oldies WWOD/HARTFORD, VT to KEESEVILLE. Later, NASSAU BROADCASTING III, LLC again filed to move WWOD to KEESEVILLE and allocate Channel 282A to ENFIELD, NH. and reallot Country WXLF (95.3 THE WOLF)/WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VT to HARTFORD, VT and the open KEESEVILLE channel to MORRISONVILLE, NY. HALL COMMUNICATIONS filed a counterproposal to keep the existing allotments where they are and drop-in Channel 282C3 at MORRISONVILLE. NASSAU's proposal was granted and HALL's denied, and HALL sought review. The Commission's review resulted in agreeing with HALL only to the extent of rescinding the reallocation of the open channel to MORRISONVILLE and returning it to KEESEVILLE.
While the Media Bureau was at it, it decided to rule in addition that "the public interest is better served by discontinuing the practice of considering individual requests for the reallotment, class down-grade or deletion of a vacant allotment outside of the competitive bidding process. Thus, with the exception of same-class channel substitutions, vacant FM allotments will be awarded pursuant to competitive bidding procedures."
Announcing that it will use a series of auctions over the next several years to assign "substantially all" vacant FM allotments, the commission said that "permitting vacant allotment modifications and deletions is disruptive to the orderly auctioning of this spectrum, wastes limited staff resources, and undermines the finality of the actions adopting the initial allotments. Accordingly, we discontinue the practice of accepting such proposals in the context of our FM allotment rulemaking procedures. To the extent that parties wish to pursue competing proposals, they should be timely submitted as counterproposals in the initial allotment proceeding. We will, however, permit parties to propose same-class channel substitutions for vacant allotments in order to accommodate proposals in technically related FM allotment and/or application filings."