On June 29, 2009, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced two upcoming filing windows for digital Class A, LPTV and TV translator facilities. These filing windows will allow parties to file applications for new digital-only LPTV and TV translator stations. In addition, incumbents will be able to file applications for major changes to existing analog and digital facilities, and incumbent analog stations may file applications for digital companion channels.
The first filing window, which begins on August 25, 2009, is limited to parties proposing to serve rural areas. To help determine which areas qualify as "rural," the Notice provides a list of reference coordinates for the main cities associated with the top 100 Nielsen DMAs. Parties may not submit applications that propose a transmitter site located within 75 miles of these coordinates. Beginning on January 25, 2010, parties may begin submitting applications without any geographic limitation.
The Public Notice reminds incumbent LPTV, TV translator and Class A television stations that they may file applications for on-channel digital conversion (i.e., "digital flash-cut") at any time. To retain processing priority over applications submitted pursuant to the two filing opportunities announced in the Notice, the FCC encourages any incumbent station that wishes to do an on-channel conversion to digital operations to file its "digital flash-cut" application prior to August 25, 2009, if it has not already done so.