How to file an Informal Objection or Petition to Deny

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In the past, if you wanted to file an Informal Objection or a Petition to Deny, you had submit it on paper either mailed or otherwise delivered to the FCC.  A couple of years ago, this has changed and you can now electronically file these types of pleadings.

NOTE: This document was originally filed for the applications filed in the 2013 LPFM window.  We have made some updates to also accommodate other application types (such as translator interference).

The differences between an Informal Objection and a Petition to Deny

Informal Objection Petition to Deny

May be submitted in letter form without extra copies.

Should be submitted in the standard format for FCC pleadings.
There are no restrictions on which applicants you can file an informal objection against. For LPFM MX applications, Petitions to Deny can only be filed against the tentative selectees. (73.3584(a)).  They can also be applied against singleton applications. 
Informal objections can be filed anytime after the application has been accepted for filing and can be filed any time up to the decision on the application (grant or dismissal). Petitions to Deny can only be filed after the cut-off period (the time when the application is accepted for filing and the FCC puts out a public notice ("Broadacst Applications") announcing a 15 (for translators) or 30-day (for new LPFM or full-service stations) comment period.
The standard pleading cycle rules outlined in §1.45 of the rules do not apply to Informal Objections. The applicant may file an opposition within 10 days from when the Petition to Deny was filed.  The original filer has up to 20 days to file a reply. (1.45(b))
You must send (serve) a copy of the pleading to the applicant.  Service can be satisfied by sending the pleading in the US Mail.  On your Petition to Deny, you MUST include a Certificate of Service.  This is a separate page that certifies that you have served a copy of the pleading upon the applicant.  This is also required on the applicant's opposition and your reply. You must send (serve) a copy of the pleading to the applicant.  Service can be satisfied by sending the pleading in the US Mail.  On your Petition to Deny, you MUST include a Certificate of Service.  This is a separate page that certifies that you have served a copy of the pleading upon the applicant.  This is also required on the applicant's opposition and your reply.
An affidavit is not required for objections filed in CDBS.  It is recommended if you paper file at the FCC Secretary's window or file by mail. An affidavit is required.  This affadavit states that the person filing the Petition to Deny has personal knowledge of the issues and that they are attesting that the facts contained in the petition are true to the best of their knowledge.

Before filing a Petition to Deny or Informal Objection for the first time, please also review §73.3588 and §73.3589 for specific rules relating to dismissal of petitions/objections and threats to file petitions/objections.

Write your pleading

While the CDBS has a free form box that allows you to type your pleading directly into the system, this method is not recommended, especially for Petitions to Deny.  It is strongly suggested that you write out your pleading using MS Word or Open Office.  You must save the document in PDF format.  The FCC does not accept attachments in any other format.

It is best to file electronically

While it is possible to file by mail or other delivery to the FCC in Washington DC, it is a longer process due to the mail screening processes that are in effect at the US Government.  If you do file a paper Petition to Deny, you will need to send the FCC two copies.  If you must file by paper, the instructions are here.

Access CDBS

To access CDBS, click here.  (This will open up in a separate window)

Registering for an account in CDBS

Note: If you are an LPFM applicant, permittee or licensee, you already have an account in CDBS.  As long as you are filing on behalf of the LPFM applicant, you may log into your CDBS account and then skip to the next section.

Click on the [Create a New Account] button.

Enter your basic information and select and confirm a password.  Password must be 8 characters.  Click [Create the Account].

You will receive an account number.  Write down that account number and your password and put it in a safe place.

Click [Continue]

Log into CDBS using your new Acount ID and Password.

On this page, click on the [Account Maintenance] tab.

Select CONTACT REP on the pull-down and click [Continue].

Click on [Copy] and your contact information appears.  This is normally used if the contact person (such as an attorney or consultant) is different than the licensee/applicant.  If that is the case, you may change this information if you wish.  When finished, click on [Update the Account] (even if you only pushed the [Copy] button).  Click on the [Return to Main Menu] button.  (Note: there are times when you click buttons on CDBS and you do not see any responses, this is normal.)

You are now ready to file the pleading!

Filing the pleading in CDBS

After you have logged in, scroll down the list of the forms to the very last one titled Additional non-form Filings.  Click on that link.

On this page, click on the link that contains "Informal Objection / Petition to Deny...".

On this page, give your filing a name.  This is something that only you will see.

Select either Informal Objection or Petition to Deny (depending on which one you are filing) tthen enter the Application File Number that you are filing the pleading against.  If you are filing against multiple applications using the same document, you will be able to enter more Application File Numbers on the next system screen. 

Click [Enter].

If you need to enter more Application Reference Numbers, click on [Enter File Number] in Section 4. We will not get into this for this tutorial.  If you need help with this section, please contact REC for assistance.

Click the [Exhibit 1] button in Section 5.

Give this item a description. This will be visible on your filing.  You can just simply use either "Informal Objection" or "Peittion to Deny".

If you wish to just type your pleading text in the box, you can do that.  (THIS IS NOT RECOMMENDED, especially for Petitions to Deny!)

To add your pleading, please click on [Add/View Attachment(s)].

Click [Browse..] then find your PDF document with your pleading on your hard drive.

Enter a file description, this  will be visible.

Click on [Add Attachment].

Now that your file has been uploaded, click on [Previous].

Click [Validate].

Click [Previous].

Sign your application by entering your full name, your title (or "individual") and the date. 

Click on [Validate].

Click on [Informal Menu].

Scroll down and you will find your filing.  Click the radio button on the left to select this pleading (if you are an LPFM applicant, you will have other filings in this section so make sure you select this pleading).

From this point, you can:

  • Click on [Print Form] if you want to see how your filing will look to others who view your filing on the FCC website.  You can use this to assure that you have entered everything correctly.
  • Click on [Test File] to run the filing through the various system editors to assure that all items on the application are correctly entered.
  • When you are ready to file your application, click on [File Form].  If you decide you want to "pull back" on your objection, you MUST delete the form in CDBS prior to 11:59PM Eastern Time on the day you filed the form, otherwise, it will be filed with the FCC.

Your pleading is filed.  It should show up in the CDBS Public Access in a few hours and will take a day or two to appear on the "Broadcast Applications" Public Notice. 

Remember, if you are filing a Petition to Deny to print a paper copy of your pleading and send it to them.  I do not recommending serving the applicant via e-mail. 

Please send a copy of your pleading via e-mail to audiodivisionpleadings@fcc.gov

Best of luck with your pleading! 

If you feel this information was helpful to you, please show your support by clicking on the Donate button on the REC home page.   Thank you for your support. 

This information should not be construed as legal advice.  For legal advice, please contact your attorney.