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Thread: STA's

  1. #1


    Is there a limit to how many days an AM or FM station can be off the air, before notifying the FCC?

  2. #2
    From the Part 73.. They have to notify the commission if they will be silent for more than 10 days. More than 30 requires a formal STA.

    Pursuant to Section 73.1740 of the Commission's rules, broadcast stations may remain silent for up to 10 days without Commission authority. If the station is or will be silent for up to 30 days, the Commission must be notified (by letter) that the station is silent. If the station will be or has been silent for more than 30 days, the licensee must request Special Temporary Authority (STA) to remain silent. However, the Commission can not grant an STA to remain silent unless the reason for the station's silence is beyond the control of the licensee. A request for an STA to remain silent may be either electronically filed or submitted in letter form. The request must be signed by an officer or director of the licensee. If the request is submitted in letter form, an anti-drug certification must be attached and signed by an officer or director of the licensee. There are no filing fees associated with a request for an STA to remain silent.

    Silent STAs, at the staff's discretion, may be granted up to 180 days. If a station is or will be silent beyond the expiration of its STA, a request to extend the STA must be submitted at the time of expiration. The requirements for extension of an STA to remain silent are the same as the for the initial request. However, a licensee must explain in the extension request what efforts it has made to return the station to operation during the period of its STA and why an extension is needed. Stations may remain silent for no more than one year. The licenses of stations remaining silent for more than one year are considered by the Commission to have automatically expired as a matter of law pursuant to Section 312(g) of the Communications Act.

  3. #3
    I'm frankly stunned that someone would come to a radio discussion board to ask that question.

  4. #4
    Brian, that is a great question. Most broadcasters don't have a clue regarding STA's or the actual FCC rules in general. And many "big broadcasters" that should know better either ignore the rules (not notifying the Commission) or take advantage of an STA to keep a station silent for long periods of time, turning the station on (or alleging that the station was broadcasting) for a day every 12 months to keep the license from being canceled. The FCC has recently stepped up enforcement actions against licensees who fail to provide consistent and dependable service. You can call and email the FCC Audio Division staff for more information and clarification. They're extremely helpful. Great question.

  5. #5
    Thanks radiofish. Sometimes I come to this board, because I need quick answers, and some of you fellow engineers have those answers at your fingertips, and I greatly appreciate that. At this moment in time, I am a part-time Radio Broadcast Engineer (in addition to holding down a full-time job). At some point, that may change. If I was a full-time engineer (like I have been in the past), I would have possibly had more time to research the question, and topic, but at the time, I didn't. After all, I can count on one finger, over the past 30 years, when I would have had to even ask the question. Sometimes when you're going through emergencies, other things take priority. One of our radio facilities had 19" of water in it, so my job, at the time, was getting electricity back in the building, and getting 2 stations back on the air, in addition to many other things. As always, thanks for your help. We're now back on, and I don't need to ask for any STA's.

  6. #6
    Having seen quite a few of Kelly's posts over the past couple of years, I might speculate his attitude is showing because STA questions are pretty basic stuff. All of it is based in the rules, all of which you can find with a simple Google search. By simply typing in "FCC STA", the first result takes you right to an FCC page that lays out several options that Brian could have used, and probably learned something at the same time. Fair or not, to post something like that here points toward his general knowledge level, for starters, and kind of takes the easy way out. I've talked with Brian a time or two, and I think he's on the right track, but he could have figured this one out himself pretty easily without dumping it on the brain trust here.

    I also think it's generally incorrect that most broadcasters don't have a clue about the rules. That's a fairly broad statement that's a bit offensive, given that guiding stations through compliance issues is, for some of us, our jobs, and we take that seriously... at least the engineers I work with do. It's about like saying most pilots take on their profession but don't bother to keep up on their rules. That's a real confidence builder which also is untrue, though there are a few out there who are less diligent than you'd like them to be.

    That said, I am somewhat close to a couple of groups that could care less about rules, but their operations show it, and it wouldn't surprise me if they get a visit some day. On the other hand, from large broadcasters in Seattle, to small, rural Mom & Pops on the East side of our state, I work with and know very responsible broadcasters who are diligent about being compliant and protecting their licenses. In my travels, the good ones far outnumber the bad.
    Last edited by Grounded Grid; 07-18-2017 at 01:39 PM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelly A View Post
    I'm frankly stunned that someone would come to a radio discussion board to ask that question.
    Doesn't everyone get their legal advice here? LOL.

    While the answered offered is accurate, I'd be leary of getting advice here. Most state broadcast associations (Michigan being one) offers a free legal hotline for broadcasters with legal questions.....that is, if you're a member.

  8. #8
    >>>I've talked with Brian a time or two, and I think he's on the right track, but he could have figured this one out himself pretty easily without dumping it on the brain trust here.<<<

    Dumping?! How ridiculous. This is, after all, The Engineering board, where anyone (not just engineers) *can* come for advice. Next time, please check your ego(s) at the door.

  9. #9
    OK then here is one. In Washington state after July 23 (New distracted driving law goes into affect). Is it legal to talk on your Cell phone while parked (engine off) on a Washington State Ferry dock when no boat is docked? If your going to destination "A" but the docked boat is loading traffic for destination "B" do I need to hang up or not use my cell phone?

    If I'm not even on the dock yet due to heavy traffic going to destination "A" or "B", parked on the street for a half hour with engine off waiting for the line to move. Do I need to be out of my car to use my Cell phone.

    Maybe simply getting out of the car and moving to the passenger seat to use the phone is the solution when parked waiting for a WSF.

    Is it still legal to pick your nose while driving in Washington state after the law takes affect.

    I know of several Broadcast engineers that need to travel on the WSF system from time to time so this question would seem to fit. I know should have started a new thread.
    Last edited by xmtrland; 07-19-2017 at 11:37 AM.

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