Subchapter III. Special Provisions Relating to Radio|
Subchapter Referred to in Other Sections: This subchapter is referred to in sections 503, 741, 753 of this title
§ 309. Application for license
(a) Considerations in granting application
Subject to the provisions of this section, the Commission shall determine, in the case of each application filed with it to which section 308 of this title applies, whether the public interest, convenience, and necessity will be served by the granting of such application, and, if the Commission, upon examination of such application and upon consideration of such other matters as the Commission may officially notice, shall find that public interest, convenience, and necessity would be served by the granting thereof, it shall grant such application.
(b) Time of granting application
Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, no such application—
shall be granted by the Commission earlier than thirty days following issuance of public notice by the Commission of the acceptance for filing of such application or of any substantial amendment thereof.
(c) Applications not affected by subsection (b)
Subsection (b) of this section shall not apply—
(d) Petition to deny application; time; contents; reply; findings
(e) Hearings; intervention; evidence; burden of proof
If, in the case of any application to which subsection (a) of this section applies, a substantial and material question of fact is presented or the Commission for any reason is unable to make the finding specified in such subsection, it shall formally designate the application for hearing on the ground or reasons then obtaining and shall forthwith notify the applicant and all other known parties in interest of such action and the grounds and reasons therefor, specifying with particularity the matters and things in issue but not including issues or requirements phrased generally. When the Commission has so designated an application for hearing, the parties in interest, if any, who are not notified by the Commission of such action may acquire the status of a party to the proceeding thereon by filing a petition for intervention showing the basis for their interest not more than thirty days after publication of the hearing issues or any substantial amendment thereto in the Federal Register. Any hearing subsequently held upon such application shall be a full hearing in which the applicant and all other parties in interest shall be permitted to participate. The burden of proceeding with the introduction of evidence and the burden of proof shall be upon the applicant, except that with respect to any issue presented by a petition to deny or a petition to enlarge the issues, such burdens shall be as determined by the Commission.
(f) Temporary authorization of temporary operations under subsection (b)
When an application subject to subsection (b) of this section has been filed, the Commission, notwithstanding the requirements of such subsection, may, if the grant of such application is otherwise authorized by law and if it finds that there are extraordinary circumstances requiring temporary operations in the public interest and that delay in the institution of such temporary operations would seriously prejudice the public interest, grant a temporary authorization, accompanied by a statement of its reasons therefor, to permit such temporary operations for a period not exceeding 180 days, and upon making like findings may extend such temporary authorization for additional periods not to exceed 180 days. When any such grant of a temporary authorization is made, the Commission shall give expeditious treatment to any timely filed petition to deny such application and to any petition for rehearing of such grant filed under section 405 of this title.
(g) Classification of applications
The Commission is authorized to adopt reasonable classifications of applications and amendments in order to effectuate the purposes of this section.
(h) Form and conditions of station licenses
Such station licenses as the Commission may grant shall be in such general form as it may prescribe, but each license shall contain, in addition to other provisions, a statement of the following conditions to which such license shall be subject: (1) The station license shall not vest in the licensee any right to operate the station nor any right in the use of the frequencies designated in the license beyond the term thereof nor in any other manner than authorized therein; (2) neither the license nor the right granted thereunder shall be assigned or otherwise transferred in violation of this chapter; (3) every license issued under this chapter shall be subject in terms to the right of use or control conferred by section 606 of this title.
(i) Certain initial licenses and permits; random selection procedure; significant preferences; rules
(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title III, § 309, 48 Stat. 1085; July 16, 1952, ch. 879, § 7, 66 Stat. 715; Mar. 26, 1954, ch. 110, 68 Stat. 35; Jan. 20, 1956, ch. 1, 70 Stat. 3; Sept. 13, 1960, Pub. L. 86–752, § 4(a), 74 Stat. 889; May 14, 1964, Pub. L. 88–306, 78 Stat. 193; May 14, 1964, Pub. L. 88–307, 78 Stat. 194; Aug. 13, 1981, Pub. L. 97–35, title XII, § 1242(a), 95 Stat. 736; Sept. 13, 1982, Pub. L. 97–259, title I, §§ 114, 115, 96 Stat. 1094.)
1982—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 97–259, § 114, substituted "temporary" for "emergency" wherever appearing, "additional periods" for "one additional period", and "180 days" for "ninety days" wherever appearing.
Subsec. (i)(1). Pub. L. 97–259, § 115(a), substituted "application" for "applicant" after "more than one", and "that each such application is acceptable for filing" for "the qualifications of each such applicant under section 308(b) of this title".
Subsec. (i)(2). Pub. L. 97–259, § 115(b), amended par. (2) generally. Prior to amendment, par. (2) provided: "The determination of the Commission under paragraph (1) with respect to the qualifications of applicants for an initial license or construction permit shall be made after notice and opportunity for a hearing, except that the provisions of section 409(c)(2) of this title shall not apply in the case of any such determination."
Subsec. (i)(3)(A). Pub. L. 97–259, § 115(c)(1), substituted "used for granting licenses or construction permits for any media of mass communications, significant preferences will be granted to applicants or groups of applicants, the grant to which of the license or permit would increase the diversification of ownership of the media of mass communications. To further diversify the ownership of the media of mass communications, an additional significant preference shall be granted to any applicant controlled by a member or members of a minority group" for ", groups or organizations, or members of groups or organizations, which are underrepresented in the ownership of telecommunications facilities or properties will be granted significant preferences".
Subsec. (i)(3)(C). Pub. L. 97–259, § 115(c)(2), added subpar. (C).
Subsec. (i)(4)(A). Pub. L. 97–259, § 115(d), substituted "September 13, 1982," for "August 13, 1981,".
1981—Subsec. (i). Pub. L. 97–35 added subsec. (i).
1964—Subsec. (c)(2)(G). Pub. L. 88–307 inserted "not to exceed sixty days".
Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 88–306 substituted "not more than thirty days after publication of the hearing issues or any substantial amendment thereto in the Federal Register" for "at any time not less than ten days prior to the date of hearing".
1960—Pub. L. 86–752 amended section generally to revise pre-grant procedure, and, among other changes, a public notice was substituted for a mandatory notice to applicants and interested parties before hearings upon applications; the Commission was required to hold applications for 30 days before acting upon them without hearings; interested parties were permitted to file petitions to deny applications before the Commission acted upon them without hearings, in lieu of 30 days after applications were granted; interested parties were required to support their petitions with "specific" allegations of fact; the Commission was permitted to dispense with formal hearings when there are "no substantial or material questions of fact," subject to a requirement that it issue a "concise statement of the reasons" for its action.
1956—Subsec. (c). Act Jan. 20, 1956, eliminated hearings with respect to facts which, even if true, would not be grounds for setting aside the Commission's grant; gave the Commission discretion to keep in effect the protested authorization but required the Commission to affirmatively find and set forth that the public interest requires grant to remain in effect; and authorized Commission to redraft issues urged by protestant in accordance with the facts alleged in the protest.
1954—Subsec. (c). Act Mar. 26, 1954, in fourth sentence, substituted "thirty days" for "fifteen days".
1952—Act July 16, 1952, amended section generally to set forth the procedure to be followed in cases of denial of applications.
Effective Date of 1960 Amendment
Section 4(d)(1)–(3) of Pub. L. 86–752 provided that:
"(1) Subsections (a) and (b) of this section [amending sections 310 and 319 of this title] shall take effect ninety days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Sept. 13, 1960].
"(2) Section 309 of the Communications Act of 1934 (as amended by subsection (a) of this section) [this section] shall apply to any application to which section 308 of such Act [section 308 of this title] applies (A) which is filed on or after the effective date of subsection (a) of this section, (B) which is filed before such effective date, but is substantially amended on or after such effective date, or (C) which is filed before such effective date and is not substantially amended on or after such effective date, but with respect to which the Commission by rule provides reasonable opportunity to file petitions to deny in accordance with section 309 of such Act (as amended by subsection (a) of this section) [this section].
"(3) Section 309 of the Communications Act of 1934 [this section], as in effect immediately before the effective date of subsection (a) of this section, shall, on and after such effective date, apply only to applications to which section 308 of such Act [section 308 of this title] apply which are filed before such effective date and not substantially amended on or after such effective date and with respect to which the Commission does not permit petitions to deny to be filed as provided in clause (C) of paragraph (2) of this subsection."
Authority To Use the System of Random Selection With Respect to Applications for Initial Licenses and Construction Permits
Section 1242(b) of Pub. L. 97–35 provided that: "The Commission shall have authority to use the system of random selection established by the Commission under section 309(i) of the Communications Act of 1934, as added in subsection (a) [subsec. (i) of this section], with respect to any application for an initial license or construction permit which will involve any use of the electromagnetic spectrum and which—
"(1) is filed with the Commission after the date of the enactment of this Act [Aug. 13, 1981]; or
"(2) is pending before the Commission on such date of enactment but has not been designated for hearing on or before such date of enactment."
Section Referred to in Other Sections
This section is referred to in sections 311, 319, 325 of this title.