Government Shutdown Survival Guide

11/17/2023 9:00 AM ET -  The President has signed into law a continuing resolution to keep most of the government (including the FCC) open until February 2, 2024.  Therefore, a government shutdown for 2023 has been averted.

System Availability

Nov 2023: In the 2018/2019 Shutdown, we continued to have some FCC systems because of activities related to the Incentive Auction.  In the 2013 Shutdown (during the Second Generation LPFM Filing Window), we lost all systems.  At this time, we have no official information from the FCC regarding systems availability.  REC has heard information that even if there is a shutdown on November 17, that there is a possibility that websites at the FCC will continue to operate.  We are not sure yet about day to day operations at the agency and whether the days during all or the first part of any shutdown would be considered as business days.  REC's contingency plans will assume that no FCC systems will be available.  But again, nothing official has been announced. 

Deadlines and filing windows

Filing deadline date calculations are addressed in §1.4 of the rules.  Specifically, the rules state that a holiday is considered any Saturday, Sunday or federally recognized holiday. In addition, holidays are also considered any day that the FCC is closed due to inclement weather or other conditions and does not re-open prior to 5:30PM on that day.  

In the event of a government shutdown, expect your due dates for filing to be the end-of-day of the day that the Commission reopens.  We do note that the individual FCC bureaus may extend those deadlines to meet the specific needs of their bureaus.  Licensees and permittees should be mindful of those public notices.  REC will attempt to make note of such extensions through our various channels including social media.  REC can't stress any further that any filings that can be done without the need to reference shut-down systems should be ready to go on the day the government reopens.  For form filings (including licenses to cover construction permits), you must wait until the government reopens before the filing systems are accessible again.  Until then, make sure you have your TPOs and other parameters properly calculated and all exhibits prepared so the filing process will be go through fast.  Of course, you can use REC for your filings and let us deal with that. 

EAS National Periodic Test

Nov 2023: The National Periodic Test of the Emergency Alert System was held on October 4, 2023.  The Form Three filing deadline is November 20, 2023.  Depending on whether or not that the FCC will be considered as open for business during this short period may determine the filing deadline.  REC recommends that all EAS participants have their Form Three filed by November 16.

LPFM Filing Window

Nov 2023: As previously mentioned, in the event of a shutdown, there's still a possibility that there will be existing funding to keep key FCC resources in operation during the shutdown date.  Although unlikely, but if the shutdown was to continue through all or a portion of the December 6~13 filing window, it may result in a slight extension of the window.  Again, this is speculative and we advise all window participants to keep a watch on this page and FCC public notices for details on the FCC's operational status.

Emergency STAs

2023: If a broadcast station needs an emergency special temporary authority (STA) that involves life and property, the emergency number for the FCC is (202)418-1122. 


2023: While there have been a lot of comments made throughout social media, most of them hopefully jokingly, stating that because of the shutdown, there will be an increase in out of compliance operations, we do note that the FCC plans to keep 17 employees on staff to protect life and property including staffing the High Frequency Direction Finding Center.  An additional 4 employees will be retained to provide oversight or conduct interference detection, mitigation and disaster response operations wherever they are needed.  Specific employees may be recalled from furlough if the need requires.  

During a shutdown, all rules and statutes still apply.  It's not a time when you can cuss on the air, carry commercials (if you are non-commercial), pirate or run excessive power (all of which have been discussed in social media). Because of broadcasting's Emergency Alert System requirements, any interference to broadcast stations could be viewed as a safety of life situation.  Remember, Charlie may be closed but Charlie is still watching.


11/17/2023 09:00 AM EST - The President has signed a continuing resolution to keep the most of the government (including the FCC) open until February 2, 2024.  The shutdown has been averted for now.  

11/14/2023 2:30 PM EST - REC is revising the Shutdown page with information ahead of a potential government shutdown on November 17.  This information is speculative and we urge all stakeholders to monitor REC channels, FCC public notices and the media for updates.

10/01/2023 6:15 AM EDT - Late in the evening last night, the Senate passed matching legislation and the President signed the legislation. This legislation keeps the government open until November 17, 2023, which will allow time for Congress to pass apporpriate funding legislation to further keep the government open.  This will mean business as usual at the FCC on Monday, October 2.

09/30/2023 3:45PM EDT - House passes a 45-day stopgap measure to extend government funding.  The Senate now needs to pass matching legislation.

09/29/2023 08:10 AM EDT - In the event of a government shutdown in 2023, the FCC will determine if previous year funds are available to support all agency operations to continue operating and if so. Once prior year funds are no longer available, the agency will furlough most employees and implement an orderly shutdown plan.  Certain critical functions of the FCC will remain in operation during a shutdown. 


FCC Documents

(Hosted at REC)

08/2023 - Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations

12/31/2018 - FCC to suspend most operations mid-day Thursday in the event of a continued partial lapse in Federal Government funding

01/02/2019 - Impact of potential lapse in funding on Commission operations

Impacts of the Government Shutdown on REC tools

REC tool Operational status in the event of a shutdown and FCC systems are not available Remarks
myLPFM 3.0 (LPFM Channel Search and station management tool) Limited functionality

Many myLPFM services that do not require direct interaction with FCC live systems will be available.  Certain features such as those that rely on height above average terrain and determination of service contours will not be available.  myLPFM features unlikely to operate during a government shutdown include: LPFM Encorachment Report, LPFM Power Check, Translator Interference, IBOC Digital (HD) ERP Study, LPFM Channel Search (information on search such as effective radiated power determination, height above average terrain calculation, minor move check for distances over 11.2 km, determination of site elevation and reduced interference report) Non-operational uses real-time data from the FCC's systems based on the current and previous day's business.  As the Commission will be closed and business will not be conducted, there will be no information to display on this site.

eLMS Frozen

As no real time data is coming in from the FCC, all data in eLMS will remain active as it is hosted in the REC DataStore.

LPFM Voluntary Public File Operational This tool does not have any real-time interaction with the FCC and it is expected to be up.  Files can be uploaded and data elements can be updated during the shutdown. Partially operational uses interactive functionality from the FCC for HAAT calculations in order render contour maps.  This includes coverage outside of the United States.  During the shutdown, maps may either be slow to render, missing contours or not appear at all.  FM contour maps that are stored in eLMS will continue to display.  AM contour maps previously obtained by REC will continue to display. Logos for full-service broadcast stations relies on the FCC's Online Public Inspection File and will not be displayed.  LPFM station logos will be displayed.

REC EZforms Not operational REC EZforms will still be available however REC is currently in an embargo status due to the upcoming LPFM filing window.  We do note that any forms received through EZforms will not be able to be filed until after the conclusion of the government shutdown.
Curves Operational The Curves page is a Javascript that is not dependent on any data from the FCC and will serve as an authoriative replacement fo the FCC's Propagation Curves website during the shutdown.
Runway Slope Operational

Runway Slope can serve as a non-authorative replacement for the FCC's TOWAIR tool during the shutdown.  REC recommends re-verifying construction proposals in the FCC TOWAIR tool before proceeding.

Tower Finder Operational REC's tower finder will continue to use its last update of Antenna Structure Registrations.
PREMIS Likely operational

All information except height above average terrain data should be available in the event of a shutdown.

NADCON Operational

Replacement for the NOAA site for getting conversions between NAD27 & NAD83.

FM Model Operational Tool used to calculate power density to determine compliance with the National Environmental Proection Act (NEPA).  This is a direct duplication of the FCC's FM Model application and therefore is considered authoritative. 


FCC Schedule 318 - While forms must be filed electronically with the FCC, here is the paper version of Schedule 318 which is used for new LPFM construction permits and changes to existing stations.  This document also gives the instructions on how to fill out the form so when the electronic filing system comes back online, you will be ready to start  your application.


For those who use the raw database files from the FCC who need them but can't get them because of an FCC website outage, here are recent versions automatically downloaded by REC as a part of our update process.  (NOTE: These files are only updated here for each shutdown episode.  These files are not regularly updated.)

Broadcast (CDBS) Data - From close of business, December 31, 2018.

FM Service Contour Data - From close of business, December 31, 2018.

Television Broadcast (LMS) Data - From close of business, December 31, 2018.

Antenna Structure Registrations - From ULS, December 30, 2018.

Ship Registrations - From ULS, December 30, 2018.

Coast Station Licenses - From ULS, December 30, 2018.

Private Land Mobile Licenses (including TIS) - From ULS, December 30, 2018.

Broadcast Auxiliary Licenses (RPU) - From ULS, December 30, 2018.

Microwave Licenses (including broadcast STL/ENG) - From ULS,  December 30, 2018.