TheEC: FCC License Renewal

Oct 1, 2013

Sharp-eared listeners may have noticed some announcements this morning on RIPR, having to do with our FCC broadcast licenses.  In fact, listeners to every radio station in Rhode Island, and all of New England, will be hearing similar announcements today.   It’s because every eight years, AM & FM broadcast licenses expire and must be renewed; these announcements are required by the FCC as part of that process.

Here are the nitty-gritties:  first, everybody’s licenses actually expire on April 1st, 2014.  So we all must file our FCC Form 303-S (for renewal) right before December 1st.   This year the oddities of the calendar actually mean we’re filing several days early, because Dec.1 is a Sunday, and Thanksgiving (a Federal holiday) falls on the Thursday before.   Both before and after that Dec.1 deadline are ten specified dates (between October 1st and February 16th) when stations must air “pre-filing” and “post-filing” announcements alerting the public that license renewal is underway. 

Now RIPR broadcasts on three stations: WELH, WCVY and WRNI-FM.  But we actually own only two signals: WRNI and WRNI-FM.  The former is 1290AM and we own it but lease it 24/7 to Latino Public Radio.   The latter is 102.7FM down in Narragansett Pier.   WELH 88.1FM in Providence and WCVY 91.5FM in Coventry are owned by The Wheeler School and Coventry Public Schools, respectively, but we provide most of the programming they broadcast.   And to top things off, RIPR also leases WRNI-FM-HD2, an HD Radio multicast channel, to, primarily so they can rebroadcast that HD2 signal on 96.5FM in Newport.

Even though RIPR owns it, your intrepid engineer hables muy poco espanol so I coordinate with LPR to air the announcements for us, in Spanish, on 1290AM.   Similarly, I coordinate with MVYradio for the 102.7HD2 announcements.   The other stations’ announcements are provided by RIPR as part of our normal programming, and that’s my voice you hear on them!

You might be wondering what these announcements actually say?   Glad you asked!   These announcements are to make listeners aware that the broadcast licenses are up for renewal, that information about these licenses can be found in the stations’ Public Inspection File, where that File is located (1 Union Station in Providence for WRNI/WRNI-FM, 40 Reservoir Rd in Coventry for WCVY, and 216 Hope St in Providence for WELH) and that if you…as a listener…wish to provide the FCC with facts that may be relevant to license renewal, you are welcome to do so and should file comments before next March.  

These days, a lot of this information is available via the FCC’s website.   But certainly we welcome folks who want to stop by and visit us, too!