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Attention: The filing window for low power FM applications CLOSED as of November 15th, 2013. It is unlikely that the FCC will be making another opportunity to apply for low power FM licenses any time soon. We are not accepting inquiries about applying for LPFM stations.
The FCC opens up windows at different times for different kinds of non-commercial radio licenses. For example in 2000 they opened a window for people to apply for low power FM radio (LPFM) licenses and then in 2007 and 2010 they opened a window for groups to apply for full power radio licenses. The FCC only allocates non-commercial radio licenses during filing windows that in the past lasted for five days for LPFM and seven for full power stations. If you want to apply for a radio license, you need to more or less have all your paperwork ready to go so that you can submit it during this filing window. When there is no licensing window there is no way to apply for a station. You may obtain an FCC license by buying it from an existing station (with some restrictions), the only snag being that this license may cost millions of dollars especially in large radio markets including most major cities in the U.S.
When can I apply?
Now you may be wondering, when will there be another filing window? That is a wonderful question and unfortunately one we do not have the answer too. We predict that the FCC will open up a LPFM licensing window sometime between 2010 and 2012 but only the FCC can tell you the answer, although they themselves may not have decided when this will be. We are also pushing for the passage of the Local Community Radio Act, which would open up many more licenses for LPFMs when there is another window.
Tips for the Application Process
The FCC has claimed that with the LPFM service, they have strived to create an application system that ordinary people can understand and fill out without needing the services of a lawyer or an engineer. And it's true, many groups did apply for and win radio licenses from the FCC without paying an engineer or lawyer. However, it is still slightly complicated and therefore we have a guide with tips for the application process. Please understand that some things may change for the next LPFM application window but this guide will give you the basics.