The Federal Communications Commission is near a decision that will allow
hundreds of new stations to pop up on the FM dial.
The five commissioners are wrapping up negotiations over rules for
noncommercial stations that seek allotments on the commercial portion of the FM
Disputes over those applications has stalled auctions of 540 new FM
allotments, as well as 1,650 low-power TV and translator permits.
The dilemma stems from a 2000 court order forbidding the FCC from requiring
noncommercial stations to bid on channels in the commercial band.
Without resolution, no auction can go forward.
Three options are being considered: barring noncoms from new commercial-band
licenses; allowing them on those channels only when there are no competing
for-profit applicants; or accommodating noncoms on a