License Renewal Time! 2019-2022

2019-2022 Prometheus Radio Project
https://www.prometheusradio.org


All broadcast stations, including LPFMs, must renew their FCC license sometime between July 2019 and 2022. The process includes reading on air announcements at specific dates and times, as well as filing Form 303-S with the FCC.

These instructions are for Low Power FM non-commercial stations only. This is a guide prepared for LPFM stations by the Prometheus Radio Project to guide you through the process, but is not meant as legal advice. Thorough information about the renewal process can be found at the FCC's website.

Step 1: Check your information in the FCC database, and find out your expiration date

Strangely enough, the date your license expires has nothing to do with when you got your license. Your expiration date is based on the state your station is located in. The earliest renewals start in June of 2019, and the process goes until 2022. Find your expiration date on the FCC website here either by state or by date.

There are many steps to the process, each with a different deadline. Here they all are, in order!

Step 1a!

You should also check if you have a current email and mailing address on file at the FCC as soon as possible. If you need to change your contact info, you can log in to the FCC's CDBS website and change it. It will be called an informal filing and the FCC has instructions.

Step 2: Broadcast Announcements on the air

Sample Pre-filing Announcement

(Use your station's main language)

On (date of the last renewal grant), (station's call letters) was granted a license by the Federal Communications Commission to serve the public interest as a public trustee until (license expiration date). Our license will expire on (date). We must file an application for license renewal with the FCC on (date, four months prior to the expiration date). When filed, a copy of this application will be available for public inspection at www.fcc.gov. It contains information concerning the station's performance over the last (period of time covered by the application, e.g. 8 years).

Individuals who wish to advise the FCC of facts relating to our renewal application, and to whether this station has operated in the public interest, should file comments and petitions with the FCC by (date, first day of the full calendar month prior to the month of license expiration).

Further information concerning the FCC's broadcast license renewal process is available at (address of the location of the station) or may be obtained from the FCC, Washington, D.C. 20554, www.fcc.gov.

Before filing your application you will need to notify listeners on the air that you have applied for renewal so they have a chance to object to your application(or sing your praises to the FCC!) You can read aloud the sample notice provided by the FCC here:

Read these notices on the 1st and 16th days of the two months before you file your renewal application. That 4 days of announcements, once per day. At least 2 of these notices should be read between 7-9 AM and/or 4-6PM.

Exceptions:
  • If you are not on the air from 7-9am or 4-6 PM three of your announcements must be made in your first two hours of broadcasting.
  • If your station is currently silent, you must publish the announcements in a newspaper of general circulation in the community or area served on the same scheduled dates as indicated above for operating stations.

You should log when you make these announcements so that the FCC can ask to see them later. Since LPFM stations aren't required to keep a "public file" (that's where other types of stations would make this log), you could write the time&date, that it was a pre-filing announcement, and initial it on a piece of paper saved in your internal records. You might have a system like this for recording proof of underwriting announcements, or some other existing system you could use too.

Step 3: Fill out the renewal form - 303-S

First: Gather some information in advance to help you navigate the application process more quickly!

Previous Application: The questions on the renewal form are the same or similar to the questions you answered when you applied. (Yes, here we go again!). Grab a copy of your previous application and think about what's changed since you applied for your station. You need to answer the questions based on your current board, but they will be the same questions you already answered. You can find your application online using the the FCC's CDBS application search. When you search for your call sign, include -LP at the end, and make sure you look up your original application that was accepted for filing. (You should be able to tell by the dates and status, and it will start with "BNPL-").

Station Information: You will need the legal name of the licensee of your station, your facility ID, your FCC Registration Number (FRN), and your Community of License. These can be found in the same FCC database, and should be on your old application, unless you have changed them through the FCC since you applied.

Environmental Protections: If you have not changed your power of your antenna height since you applied for your station, you do not need to recalculate your RF levels, but if you have moved your transmitter you will need to know the wattage and height of your transmitter.

Once you have this info ready, you can take the plunge into the FCC's website, where you will fill out the application online. But instead of using CDBS, you'll be using another on-line submission system called LMS which is nicer than CDBS, but different. We explain all of the steps and if you're feeling brave, just log into LMS!.

Filling out the form:


Check out our guide to using LMS for renewal.


Step 4: Broadcast EVEN MORE announcements on the air

Sample POST-filing Announcement

(Use your station's main language)

On (date of the last renewal grant), (station's call letters) was granted a license by the Federal Communications Commission to serve the public interest as a public trustee until (license expiration date). Our license will expire on (date). We filed an application for license renewal with the FCC. A copy of this application is available for inspection at www.fcc.gov. It contains information concerning the station's performance over the last (period of time covered by the application, e.g. 8 years).

Individuals who wish to advise the FCC of facts relating to our renewal application, and to whether this station has operated in the public interest, should file comments and petitions with the FCC by (date, first day of the full calendar month prior to the month of license expiration).

Further information concerning the FCC's broadcast license renewal process is available at (address of the location of the station) or may be obtained from the FCC, Washington, D.C. 20554, www.fcc.gov.

One more step, and you'll be done! After filing your application you must let your listeners know the good news that you've applied for a renewal, so they have another chance to object to your application to the FCC. You can read aloud the sample notice.

Read these notices on the 1st and 16th days of the month in which you apply, and the two months after, for a total of 6 announcements.

The notices must be read at the following times:

  • 3 notices between 7-9am and/or 4-6pm
  • 1 notice between 9am and Noon
  • 1 notice between Noon and 4pm
  • 1 notice between 7pm and Midnight
Exceptions:
  • If you are not on the air from 7-9am or 4-6 PM three of your announcements must be made in your first two hours of broadcasting.
  • If your station is currently silent, you must publish the announcements in a newspaper of general circulation in the community or area served on the same scheduled dates as indicated above for operating stations.
  • You should log when you make these announcements so that the FCC can ask to see them later. Since LPFM stations aren't required to keep a "public file" (that's where other types of stations would make this log), you could write the time&date, that it was a post-filing announcement, and initial it on a piece of paper saved in your internal records. You might have a system like this for recording proof of underwriting announcements, or some other existing system you could use too.

    And you're done! If a petition to deny your application is filed within 3 months days of your renewal application, you should contact a lawyer, or contact Prometheus if you do not have one. Also, the FCC may ask you for clarification on your application through email or by mail. Otherwise, throw a celebration with all the parties to your application, and wait for the FCC to notify you about your status.