FCC Radio Licenses

FCC AM, FM & LPFM Radio broadcasters licensure, transfers and renewals

For those broadcasters in the AM, FM and LPFM radio frequencies, Maldonado Law offers an array of services related to your licensure and potential dealings with the FCC. These services include representation before the FCC Media Bureau in matters of:

  • FCC Form 301-FM New application for FM broadcast station license
  • FCC Form 301-AM New application for AM broadcast station license
  • FCC Form 2100 Schedule 303-S Application for renewal license for AM, FM, TV, translator, or LPTV station
  • FCC Form 314 Application for consent to assignment of broadcast station construction permit or license
  • FCC Form 315 Application for consent to transfer control of broadcast station construction permit or license
  • FCC Form 319 Application for a Low Power FM broadcast station license
  • FCC Form 335-AM AM digital notification
  • FCC Form 335-FM FM digital notification

Special rates available for small-sized independent AM and non-for-profit LPFM station filings of Form 396 and Form 303-S if no violations within the prior license period of compliance can be shown to the firm before filing.

Maldonado Law also works with all pre-filing and post filing aspects of the sale or assignment of an AM or FM broadcaster’s station or assets. Our firm has represented both buyer and seller in such scenarios. Maldonado Law must be engaged pre-closing for all applications of FCC Form 314 (assignments) or FCC Form 315 (transfers of control) as Commission approval may take 30 days to several months depending on the compliance history of the buyer and seller, and if any NOV or NALs are pending at the time of application. NALs, NOVs or missed compliance reports must be cured prior to the applications for assignment or transfer being submitted. If any applicant (buyer or seller) is on RED Light status at the time of application, the application will not be processed by the FCC until the debt is resolved. Should this be the instance, Maldonado Law can resolve the matter with the pre-filing due diligence and work. Please inform us if this is the instance.

For any renewal under FCC Form 2100, Schedule 303-S, broadcasters are reminded that all full power commercial and non-commercial radio stations and LPFM stations must air pre-filing license renewal notices announcing the station’s intended renewal once a day on the 1st an 16th day during the two months immediately before the license renewal filing deadline. At least two (2) of the four total notices MUST be between the hours of 7:00am and 9:00am, AND, 4:00pm and 6:00pm per renewal public notice requirements, Should you have any questions or concerns about pre-filing public notices or scripts, contact Maldonado Law for a consultation.

FCC FM Translator Applications

Presently there is a moratorium on new AM Radio station licenses. AM broadcasters seeking to expand their footprint are limited to two basic avenues for expansion of listening base: 1.) acquire another AM station, or 2.) apply and be granted an FCC license for an FM Translator. Additionally, FM broadcasters may expand their coverage area or cover other listening markets by means of applying for and being granted an FM Translator license. Both scenarios require support from Frequency Coordinators and FCC engineers. Alternatively, broadcasters may seek the assignment of an existing licensed translator through a sale or merger. Maldonado Law can support all these types of scenarios and the FCC licensure process.

FCC Annual and Biennial Broadcaster reports

Maldonado Law files the FCC Form 2100, Schedule 396 (Annual EEO Report filed at license renewal) and the (Commercial and Non-Commercial Biennial Ownership Report) FCC Form 323 Ownership reports for broadcasters. All full-power radio and television stations, Class A TV, and Low-Power TV stations, regardless of size are required to file FCC Form 396. Stations with five or less employees must file Form 396 but need not provide specific compliance information. No exceptions are made for community organizations who are licensees or small-sized operator in this filing requirement. Full ownership information for FCC Form 323 or employee facts for FCC Form 2100 Schedule 396 must be provided Maldonado Law at the time of engagement for filing work. Maldonado Law must be engaged ten (10) business days before reports are due from the licensee to the Commission. Window for FCC Form 323 is November 1st to January 31st every year. Window for FCC Form 2100, Schedule 396 is at the time of license renewal.

FCC FM, AM & LPFM Compliance

For station managers, ongoing compliance is continually a challenge based on the size and scale of staff supporting the station. Maldonado Law provides custom compliance plans, calendars and online filing training for station managers and their staff to access and file online regulatory reports on their own. For those stations that have been issued a NAL or NOV and compliance reporting is required as a part of a Consent Decree settlement, Maldonado Law can customize reporting confirmation letters and standardize documentation from your company to better document your corrective actions and compliance with the Commission’s Rules. For stations which are presently compliant but seek a compliance audit, Maldonado Law can perform such audits on-site (in Florida) or virtually through video conference, Skype, Go-to-Meeting, or other virtual platforms to collaborate with you and coordinate your compliance.

FCC STAs, Licensed but Silent, and License-to-cover issues

If one thing is true for broadcasters, it’s to expect the unexpected when it comes to your facilities. Storms, vandals, theft, zoning, landlord-tenant issues, and frequency interference, technical issues from new construction or upgrades, and other obstacles can complicate your on-air time. Sometimes the issue only affects the station for a limited period of time. Sometimes it’s longer. Maldonado Law can support and file necessary Special Temporary Authority (STAs), Licensed but running Silent STAs, or coordinate with your FCC engineers filings for License to cover, to give your station time to get back on air while not violating the Federal Communication Act. We urge you to contact Maldonado Law as soon as an unforeseen event knocks your broadcast signal out.

The Special Case of FCC Unauthorized Broadcasting Offenses & Pirate Radio

The Communications Act of 1934 (the Act) makes it unlawful to operate radio broadcasting equipment above certain low-intensity thresholds without having a license issued by the FCC. The Act authorizes the seizure and forfeiture of any electronic or radio frequency equipment used with willful and knowing intent to broadcast without an FCC license. The number of available radio frequencies is limited, and unlicensed broadcasting interferes with the broadcasting of legitimate licensed radio stations, potentially causing chaos in the radio spectrum. These unlicensed providers are commonly known as “pirate radio broadcasters” and the activity can lead to forfeiture of equipment, FCC enforcement actions over fines for violating the Act, and in some cases criminal penalties and charges. Usually, cases of this nature arise after complaints are received by the FCC from licensed broadcasters about interference, from the Federal Aviation Administration about interference with airport communications, and from consumers, particularly when the content of the broadcasts is indecent or profane. New Jersey and Florida are two states in the U.S. that criminalize Unlicensed Broadcast with criminal Felony and Misdemeanor charges that may occur in addition to any fines from the FCC. On a select basis Maldonado Law offers the following services in this area:

  • FCC Violation and Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) Defense
  • Representation in equipment forfeiture proceedings for offenders and innocent owners
  • Criminal defense representation in Federal or Florida state court.

Contact Maldonado Law to schedule a confidential initial consultation about our FCC Radio broadcaster licensure services and learn about our rates and experience.