The FCC today announced the opening of a filing window for noncommercial applicants interested in seeking authority for 67 existing vacant FM allotments. Applications on FCC Form 340 will be accepted from December 11th through December 18th for these vacant FM allotments in the non-reserved band between Channels 221 and 300. A full listing of the allotments that are available can be found here. Although the vacant channels are in the non-reserved FM Band these particular allocations have been reserved exclusively for noncommercial use. Thus, the window is restricted to noncommercial educational applicants only.

In the event that multiple applications are filed seeking the same allotment, then the channel will be awarded by applying the Commission's comparative point system for noncommercial applicants. Further details on filing an application can be found in today's Public Notice, and complete step-by-step instructions are available on the Commission's website here.

In order to provide stability and predictability for applicants interested in filing for these vacant allotments, the FCC is imposing a freeze on the filing of minor change applications for both commercial and noncommercial FM radio stations. The freeze will go into effect after 11:59 PM on November 25, 2009 and remain in effect through the close of the filing window. Accordingly, any existing FM stations that intend to file a minor modification in November and December should plan ahead so they don't get delayed by the freeze. In addition, the FCC has also imposed a freeze, effective immediately, on any applications proposing to change the reference coordinates for these 67 allotments. Similarly, petitions or counterproposals proposing a change in the class, channel, or community of license of any of the allotments will not be accepted until December 19th, after the filing window has closed.