As the United States government faces a budgetary lights off switch, the Federal Communications Commission has published a Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations.
Here’s the plan’s bottom line:
“Generally, during a shutdown all FCC activities other than those immediately necessary for the protection of life or property will cease. Suspended activities include, among many others: Consumer complaint and inquiry phone lines cannot be answered; consumer protection and local competition enforcement must cease; licensing services, including broadcast, wireless, and wireline, must cease; management of radio spectrum and the creation of new opportunities for competitive technologies and services for the American public must be suspended; and equipment authorizations, including those bringing new electronic devices to American consumers, cannot be provided.”
I am (thankfully) not in charge of interpreting the above text, but language like “licensing services, including broadcast” and “the creation of new opportunities” would appear to encompass the FCC’s impending LPFM application window, scheduled to open on October 15. Looks like the shutdown will start to take effect on Monday at midnight if Congress does not come up with a spending deal.
The Broadcast Law Blog has been worrying, too. “Should a prolonged shutdown occur, we could expect processing delays on the many hundreds of translator applications that we are expecting to see granted soon,” BLB’s David Oxenford wrote on Thursday. “And, depending on the negotiations over the debt ceiling, even this month’s long-awaited LPFM window, which is scheduled to open on October 15 and run through October 29, could be imperiled.”
Fingers crossed that it doesn’t come to this, or if it does, that the crisis doesn’t last long.