The FCC announced the starting gun for AM Class C and D (small) AM stations to acquire an FM translator will fire at midnight on January 29th. There are a few rules – the existing FM translator has to be within 250 miles of the AM station. The next rule is there has to be an available FM frequency. This is a one chance application. If you get approved and the seller backs out, you’re done. If the FCC rejects the application, you’re out of luck. If two stations file for the same frequency on the same day, the FCC will assist in resolving the problem.
There are only 3 possible frequencies, and they will require a waiver from an existing FM station to be compliant. The Translator must still meet the requirement that it broadcasts within the existing AM station’s daytime broadcast area.
Once assigned, the translator is married to that AM station for the next four years. No more hanky panky after that, unless of course the rules change again.