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Discussion Starter #1
Finding the specifications for US broadcast stations should be easy, since the FCC aloows public access to the consolidated database of broadcast station filings. However, given the variety of filing types, figuring out what the latest status is can be confusing. Furthermore, second-party sites that try to offer accurate alternate views to the data can be tripped up by special circumstances and plain old bad data.

To help bring clarity, here are a couple of posts that describe some of the filing types and how they fit together. The first will deal with full-power DTV while others will deal with allocations and low-power services.
 

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Full-power DTV filings

The naming of filings in the FCC consolidated database have a letter prefix indicating type followed by numbers that indicate the date of filing and letters that denote the nth filing received that day. Of interest to people in this forum are filings whose prefixes end with CDT or EDT (commercial or educational DTV) and whose prefixes BEGIN with the following:

BP: application for a construction permit - This is the request to either start a new station or make changes to an existing station. The complete technical facility will be specified.

BEP: request to extend a construction permit - CP's usually last 3 years, but if an applicant is having issues, then this is what's filed to request more time. The original CP is referenced in the filing.

BMP: request to modify a construction permit - if an applicant wishes to alter the changes that have been approved for construction, then this is what is filed. The original CP is referenced. Once approved, the technical facilities described are now the only ones valid to build.

BL: request for license to cover - Filed when construction is complete and the applicant is ready to begin broadcasting with the new facilities. The station may begin broadcasting immediately upon filing this request under "automatic program test authority." The corresponding CP is referenced, but the technical facility is not described.

Prior to FCC action, the status of these requests will be "tendered", "received", "accepted for filing", or "tendered for filing". The FCC can then DISMISS or GRANT the request. BPs, BEPs. and BMPs are not in force until they are granted. Only one change "thread" started by a BP and closed by a granted BL, dismissed B(M)P, or expired BP can be open at a time.

Other filings of note are:

BSTA, BESTA, BLSTA: request for special temporary authority - filed when a station will operate at variance from licensed facilities (temporary ops while something is broken, usually) or will go silent.

BR: license renewal.

BAL, BAP: assigment of license or construction permit: filed when a facility is sold.

BTC: transfer of control - filed when the structure of the owning entity is changed

Remember, only one thread can be open at a time, and a licensed facility stays in the database until a license to cover a construction permit is granted.
 

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Filled-in example

To illustrate the above, here is the path of filings that brought WNGS-DT to air.

BPCDT-19991101AKN - Original application for channel 46, 823 kW @ 411m HAAT at 42* 38' 15" N, 78* 37' 12" W using a directional antenna. This was DISMISSED August 2008.

BPCDT-20080328AFD - First application for channel 7, 15.5 kW @ 411m HAAT at same site using a directional antenna. GRANTED June 2008 with an original expiration of June 2009 (analog shut-off date).

BEPCDT-20081215AEF - Six month extension request. GRANTED April 2009.

BEPCDT-20091120ACE - Additional extension request. DISMISSED January 2010.

BMPCDT-20100311ACK - Modifies 20080328AFD, now channel 7, 26.9 kW @ 183m HAAT at 42* 34' 4"N, 78* 43' 24"W using a directional antenna. GRANTED March 2010 with September 2010 expiry.

BMPCDT-20100322ABL - Modifies 20100311ACK, now antenna is 176m HAAT. GRANTED March 2010 with September 2010 expiry.

BLCDT-20100525AEW - License to cover 20100322ABL. Status is ACCEPTED FOR FILING, but station is operating under program test authority.
 
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