The following information comes from the Manual published by the FCC for public consumption. It is intended only as a general overview of the FCC’s license renewal process. It is not a comprehensive or controlling statement.
Applications for License Renewal. Stations must renew their licenses before they expire. Here is the license renewal application deadlines for stations in our region:
Vermont and New Hampshire Radio Stations: December 1, 2021
New York Radio Stations: February 1, 2022
Vermont and New Hampshire Television Stations: December 1, 2022
New York Television Stations: February 1, 2023
Before its expiration, each station licensee must broadcast a series of announcements stating when its license expires, the filing date for the renewal application, how to obtain a copy of the application and the date by which formal petitions against the renewal must be filed with the FCC (first day of the last full calendar month before the expiring license term).
Before the FCC can renew a station’s license, they must first determine whether, during the preceding license term, the licensee has served the public interest, has not committed any serious violations of the Communications Act or the FCC’s rules, and has not committed other violations which, taken together, would constitute a pattern of abuse. To assist them in this evaluative process, a station licensee must file a renewal application (FCC Form 303-S), to tell the FCC whether:
- It has sent them certain required reports;
- It or its owners have, or have had, any interest in a broadcast application in an FCC proceeding in which character issues were resolved adversely to the applicant or were left unresolved, or were raised in connection with a pending application;
- Its ownership is consistent with the Communications Act’s restrictions on licensees;
- Interests are held by foreign governments, foreign corporations, and non-U.S. citizens;
- There has been an adverse finding or adverse final action against it or its owners by a court or administrative body in a civil or criminal proceeding involving a felony, mass media-related antitrust or unfair competition law, the making of fraudulent statements to a governmental unit, or discrimination;
- There were any adjudicated violations of the Communications Act or the Commission’s rules during the current license term;
- The licensee or its owners have been denied federal benefit due to drug law violations;
- Its station operation complies with the Commission’s radiofrequency (RF) radio exposure standards;
- It has placed and maintained certain specified materials in its public inspection file in a timely manner;
- It has discontinued station operations for more than 12 consecutive months during the preceding license term and is currently broadcasting programming;
- It has adhered to its minimum operating schedule (for radio stations only);
- Its advertising sales agreements discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity and whether all such agreements held by the licensee contain nondiscrimination clauses;
- It has filed Form 396, Broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity Program Report; and
- In the case of an application for renewal of a television license, the station has complied with the limitations on commercial matter aired during children’s programming and filed the necessary Children’s Television Programming Reports (FCC Form 398).