Agency Shutdown Affects Filing Deadlines for Broadcasters

Federal Government Shuts Down; World Fails to End

By Stu Nolan

But for the fact that everyone must await permission seemingly before anything can be done in modern America, one might easily be forgiven for wondering just why the federal government shutdown was supposedly such a crisis. As it happens, however, virtually nothing can get done in certain highly regulated fields unless and until the federal government signs off on it.

As many of the apostolates we serve understand, broadcasting is precisely such a highly regulated field. As we prepare to file numerous applications for apostolates seeking permission to launch new low power FM radio facilities, at this writing it remains unknown just how the shutdown will affect the deadline for filing such applications. The filing window was to have opened on October 15 and concluded on October 29. However, not only was the electronic filing system unavailable during the opening of the announced window, it was not available for more than a full week leading up to the window.

Exacerbating the challenge posed to broadcasters and to the FCC staff, there are several other significant deadlines sandwiched around the LPFM Filing Window on the calendar. It will be difficult for the electronic filing system, not to mention the agency staff, to handle the backlog of applications and reports that were awaiting filing on the government's return to normal operations, plus the other expected incoming applications and reports in the weeks ahead, as well as the avalanche of LPFM permit applications.

Even regular operation of the FCC's internet site has not occurred as of this writing. We expect to hear soon the extent to which the FCC will adjust the deadline for filing its Form 318. All we know for certain, for now, is that nearly all FCC filing deadlines through October 21 have been suspended.

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