01.11.2006 08:00 AM
SBE offers advice to avoid automatic loss of BAS licenses

The FCC Dec. 20, 2005, issued a Public Notice explaining some aspects of a January 2005 declaratory ruling outlining its intent to clean up the Universal Licensing System (ULS) database.

The ruling (Docket 05-23) is not clear in the aspects that pertain to broadcast auxiliary licenses (BAS), and could have resulted in stations having some of their BAS licenses terminated, according to the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE).

Recognizing the problem, the SBE sought a clarification in early 2005 and had several meetings with the FCC throughout the year. The FCC provided oral clarification to the SBE in those meetings, but the society repeatedly asked the commission to publish a clarification. The Dec. 20 Public Notice is the latest result in this effort.

The SBE has created a primer that details the specific steps for a broadcaster to follow to ensure that its BAS licenses are not automatically terminated beginning Feb. 1, 2006.

This automated feature in the ULS for all wireless services will identify the licenses, locations or frequencies that have not filed a timely notice of completion of construction or a request for an extension of the construction or coverage period. The ULS will notify the licensee that its license, location or frequency has automatically terminated and will list the automatic termination of the license, location or frequency in a weekly public notice.

There are several steps a licensee must complete to protect its current and pending BAS licenses, according to SBE General Counsel Chris Imlay. Not doing so “may result in a broadcaster losing a license or construction permit — and also losing the protection of having an active license entered in the ULS,” he said.

The society has posted an article on how to avoid automatic BAS license termination on its Web site. To read “Avoiding Automatic Termination of Broadcast Auxiliary Licenses On 2/1/06,” visit www.sbe.org.

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