The Commission, if public convenience, interest, or necessity will be served thereby, subject to the limitations of this chapter, shall grant to any applicant therefor a station license provided for by this chapter.
In considering applications for licenses, and modifications and renewals thereof, when and insofar as there is demand for the same, the Commission shall make such distribution of licenses, frequencies, hours of operation, and of power among the several States and communities as to provide a fair, efficient, and equitable distribution of radio service to each of the same.
Each license granted for the operation of a broadcasting station shall be for a term of not to exceed 8 years. Upon application therefor, a renewal of such license may be granted from time to time for a term of not to exceed 8 years from the date of expiration of the preceding license, if the Commission finds that public interest, convenience, and necessity would be served thereby. Consistent with the foregoing provisions of this subsection, the Commission may by rule prescribe the period or periods for which licenses shall be granted and renewed for particular classes of stations, but the Commission may not adopt or follow any rule which would preclude it, in any case involving a station of a particular class, from granting or renewing a license for a shorter period than that prescribed for stations of such class if, in its judgment, the public interest, convenience, or necessity would be served by such action.
In order to expedite action on applications for renewal of broadcasting station licenses and in order to avoid needless expense to applicants for such renewals, the Commission shall not require any such applicant to file any information which previously has been furnished to the Commission or which is not directly material to the considerations that affect the granting or denial of such application, but the Commission may require any new or additional facts it deems necessary to make its findings.
Pending any administrative or judicial hearing and final decision on such an application and the disposition of any petition for rehearing pursuant to section 405 or section 402 of this title, the Commission shall continue such license in effect.
No renewal of an existing station license in the broadcast or the common carrier services shall be granted more than thirty days prior to the expiration of the original license.
(1) Notwithstanding any license requirement established in this chapter, if the Commission determines that such authorization serves the public interest, convenience, and necessity, the Commission may by rule authorize the operation of radio stations without individual licenses in the following radio services: (A) the citizens band radio service; (B) the radio control service; (C) the aviation radio service for aircraft stations operated on domestic flights when such aircraft are not otherwise required to carry a radio station; and (D) the maritime radio service for ship stations navigated on domestic voyages when such ships are not otherwise required to carry a radio station.
(2) Any radio station operator who is authorized by the Commission to operate without an individual license shall comply with all other provisions of this chapter and with rules prescribed by the Commission under this chapter.
(3) For purposes of this subsection, the terms "citizens band radio service", "radio control service", "aircraft station" and "ship station" shall have the meanings given them by the Commission by rule.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, (1) any holder of a broadcast license may broadcast to an area of Alaska that otherwise does not have access to over the air broadcasts via translator, microwave, or other alternative signal delivery even if another holder of a broadcast license begins broadcasting to such area, (2) any holder of a broadcast license who has broadcast to an area of Alaska that did not have access to over the air broadcasts via translator, microwave, or other alternative signal delivery may continue providing such service even if another holder of a broadcast license begins broadcasting to such area, and shall not be fined or subject to any other penalty, forfeiture, or revocation related to providing such service including any fine, penalty, forfeiture, or revocation for continuing to operate notwithstanding orders to the contrary.
(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title III, §307, 48 Stat. 1083; June 5, 1936, ch. 511, §2, 49 Stat. 1475; July 16, 1952, ch. 879, §5, 66 Stat. 714; Pub. L. 86–752, §3, Sept. 13, 1960, 74 Stat. 889; Pub. L. 87–439, Apr. 27, 1962, 76 Stat. 58; Pub. L. 97–35, title XII, §1241(a), Aug. 13, 1981, 95 Stat. 736; Pub. L. 97–259, title I, §§112, 113(a), Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 1093; Pub. L. 104–104, title II, §203, title IV, §403(i), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 112, 131; Pub. L. 108–447, div. J, title IX [title II, §213(1), (2)], Dec. 8, 2004, 118 Stat. 3431.)
Last modified: October 26, 2015