(Updated 9/25/23) REC procedures and FAQ in the event of a late 2023 government shutdown

Updated: Septemeber 25, 2023

With the recent discussion about the potential for a Government shutdown around the time of October 1, 2023, some may have questions about the how the FCC and REC will function during that time, especially this time with the LPFM Filing Window looming on November 1, 2023.

Fortunately, REC has had past experience dealing with these shutdowns and there are contingency plans in place for handling a shutdown event. 

During a lapse of appropriations, most government functions which are not related to the immediate safety to life and property will shut down, this includes most, but not all functions at the FCC.  During such a lapse, it may also result in the shutdown of various online systems at the FCC. 

(9/25/2023): Please note that while we provide factual information based on existing federal regulations and past experiences with government shutdowns, the FCC will proive official news releases on the orderly shutdown and business recovery efforts that may waive some of the regulations (such as extending filing deadlines).  At this time, we cannot confirm that the regulations will be waived nor can we confirm that all FCC systems will be down.  This will only be known after the FCC issues an official news release.  However, like any enterprise operation, REC must make contingency plans assuming various potential scenarios.   All official announcements from the FCC will be accessible on our Shutdown page.   REC will also update our systems and resource availability on that page as well as the system status widget on the REC home page.


REC Shutdown page.

If a Government shutdown does happen, REC will activate a dedicated page at


This page will have updated information as well as local copies of certain FCC data and documents that may have been made unavailable due to server shutdowns at the FCC.

FCC filing deadlines.  

In general, any day that the agency is closed is considered a “holiday” under §1.4(e) of the FCC Rules.  Any filing deadlines during the shutdown period will be extended to, at the minimum, the next business day following such holiday.  However, as observed in past shutdowns, once appropriations are restored and government business resumes, the FCC, both at the agency and at the bureau level may issue advisories to inform the public about revised deadlines. 

What if a government shutdown takes place before or during the LPFM filing window?

Ironically, this is what happened in the last LPFM filing window in 2013.  The original filing window opened on October 15, 2023 and was expected to close on October 29.  The related government shutdown started on October 1 and lasted until October 17.  During this period of time, applicants could not access FCC resources such as the CDBS filing system which was used at that time and other resources such as the FCC LPFM Channel Search Tool and the Height Above Average Terrain tool. 

After the government resumed operations on October 18, the Media Bureau immediately issued a Public Notice extending the LPFM filing window to November 15.  The Bureau recognized that many potential applicants did not have access to the tools that are needed to prepare applications.

What if I am an REC LPFM Filing Window client?

REC will continue to handle filing window clients within the limitations of not having certain government systems available.

Clients in Stage 2: We will still accept your site location and site assurance information to satisfy the Stage 2 criteria.

Clients in Stage 3: Until FCC systems are resumed, we are unable to fully complete the Stage 3 criteria.  We will be asking those in Stage 3 to please get as much of your Stage 4 information as we can get and then we can return back to Stage 3.

Clients in Stage 4: Only those who have not obtained their FRN will not be able to complete all Stage 4 criteria. 

Final Check: Those who have completed all Stage 1, 2, 3 and 4 criteria will go to Final Check. Due to the shutdown, those who move into Final Check will not be ready for Stage 5 until after the government resources are restored as part of Final Check involves using government resources.  As such, we will not be collecting balances for advancement into Stage 5 until after the government reopens and the Final Check process can be completed.  We only collect the balance after we have verified everything in Final Check.

Clients in Stage 5: Stage 5 activities will need to be delayed until after the government reopens as no applications can be staged in the FCC systems.

Clients in “Ready to File”: Your applications are already staged in the FCC systems and ready to be filed during the window.  If the FCC announces a new window filing deadline, we will send an email to our Ready to File clients to advise of any updated timings for filing as well as any revised dates for the emergency process.

What about REC professional services during this time?

In the event of a shutdown, this will give us some time to breathe.  At this time, we will likely remove ourselves from “window mode” and turn on phones for incoming calls.  During a shutdown, while we have access to many in-house and third-party systems that can allow us to check many things related to FCC broadcast, we will not be able to take actions on any application until after the shutdown ends. 

In addition to the FCC Contour API tools, REC does also have commercial in-house tools that are not dependent on interacting with an API in order to construct field strength contours.  Therefore, we will still have that functionality in the shop, but not interactively online.  Therefore, we will still have the ability to determine second-adjacent channel waivers during a shutdown.

Depending on window related volume at the time of the shutdown, we may lift the embargo on a limited basis for certain application types such as full-service and assignment of license.  The filing freeze remains in effect for LPFM and FM Translators so the embargo will remain in effect for engineering applications in those services until sometime shortly after the window close when the dust settles. 

Will the Government Shutdown impact the Grassroots Radio Conference?

Other than any presenters who work for government agencies, there are no other known impacts to the GRC that we are aware of.  The Grassroots Radio Conference is being coordinated by WTSQ-LP and any changes will be announced by them.  REC still plans to be at the GRC.

What will happen with the National Periodic Test scheduled for October 4 if the government is shut down?

We do not have any official information yet about this.  We expect the NPT to take place as planned.  The backup date for the NPT is October 11.

How will REC systems function during a government shutdown?

We actually just recently had an unscheduled exercise in this due to the nearly week-long FCC systems event that took place in early September which behaved a bit like a goverment shutdown.  While REC houses a very large amount of FCC data, many of our systems are dependent on FCC-hosted application processing interfaces (APIs) in order to function.  This includes the FCC Contours API which is used to calculate heights above average terrain, site elevations and to generate contour maps.  If the FCC Contours API is unavailable to us, these services will be unavailable to you.  Those services that use in-house data will continue to function.  REC has in-house versions of the field strength curves tool, antenna structure registration search, TOWAIR search and FM Model for radio frequency radiation studies.  In our shop, we also have third-party commercial tools to conduct contour studies in house without dependence on the Contours API.

For regular users of REC online resources, here is our current projection of what will happen in each system in the event of a Government shutdown:


Likely status during a government shutdown and systems access is lost


CAP Viewer

No expected impacts

As IPAWS-OPEN is a national security critical system, we do not expect any interruption to services provided to REC by FEMA and the National Weather Service.

REC Content Website

No expected impacts


Curves (field strength) Tool.

No expected impacts


Dingers Database & ARRR

Limited functionality

Links to FCC Enforcement documents may be unavailable during the Shutdown.


Modified functionality

eLMS application gathering activities will be suspended during the shutdown but existing eLMS data will be available to all REC systems using it.


Mostly unavailable

FCC.today’s primary function is to be a dashboard of FCC daily activity. With no daily activity, the site will be pretty much useless during the shutdown.  We have no immediate plans for any specific content to be presented there, but users should occasionally check because you never know what you will find.  For the delivery of news, we expect the FCC’s EDOCS interface to remain during the shutdown so news items, especially during emergencies will be available.


Limited functionality

For US FCC, we expect all broadcast data that was  in effect prior to the shutdown to remain available. Broadcast mapping for FM and AM will remain available as that data is cached in eLMS and legacy sources.  Mapping for TV and some non-US facilities will be unavailable.  RadioDNS will still be available. Amateur radio will be vintage to the day before shutdown and location maps will still work. Other than some mapping, non-US data will not be impacted.


No expected impacts


REC FM Model

No expected impacts


REC HAAT, Elevation and ERP Tool


This tool is completely dependent on the FCC Contour API.  If the API is unavailable during the shutdown, this tool will also be unavailable.

LP250 Antenna Check

No expected impacts



Available with slightly reduced functionality

LPFM.app will be available during the shutdown.  The only feature missing is the display of height above average terrain.  In addition, links in the client portal to filed and staged applications at the FCC will not be available.

LPFM Public File

No expected impacts



Limited functionality

Some functions on myLPFM are dependent on the FCC Contours API.  These functions include: LPFM Encroachment Report, LPFM Power Check, Translator Interference, IBOC ERP Study, LPFM moves (to check for contour overlap between old and new location on moves over 11.2km), Reduced Interference Report.  We do not anticipate the loss of emergency alert information.  Interfaces with third party sources, such as RadioDNS will not be impacted.  Broadcast data will be vintage from the date prior to the shutdown.


No expected impacts



Limited functionality

Functions, such as height above average terrain, which utilize the FCC APIs will not be available.

RadioDNS Connectivity Tool

No expected impacts


Runway Slope

No expected impacts


Spare Call Sign List

No expected impacts


Tower Finder

No expected impacts


U/D Ratio Calculator



Window Tracking Tool

No expected impacts