FCC Station totals for 2019

The FCC has released it’s radio station statistics for the end of 2019. There were 15,500 full-power radio stations licensed as of Dec. 31, 2019 – eight fewer than a year earlier. The number of commercial FMs compared to 2018 was an increase of 18 to 6,772 licensed at year end. Non-commercial FMs remained steady at 4,135 suggesting that growth in this sector may have peaked. The often stated demise of AM radio showed 4,593 licensed stations at the end of December, down from only 26 a year previous. However, this doesn’t take into account the AM broadcasters who have current, valid silent “STA” authority so it’s hard to determine exactly how many are on air versus the number that are licensed. An important factor in keeping AM’s on air & viable has been the proliferation of FM translators acquired by AM’s. The FCC states that 37% of all AM’s now have FM translators, a 3% increase over last year. The year-end total for licensed translators is 8,182. The number of low-power FMs remained steady in the final months of 2019 – the FCC reports there were 2,169 at year-end. That was a decrease of three versus the prior year. The amount of LPFMs has been stagnant largely due to no new filing windows to allow for new stations to be created. With the three translator windows for AM stations now completed, the FCC’s focus will eventually turn back to low-power FM. the Media Bureau reports the total number of full-power television stations was relatively steady with 1,762 licensed at the end of December. The latest FCC data shows the total amount of low-power TV stations was 1,892.Overall, there were a total of 33,513 radio and television licenses issued by the FCC at the end of the 2019.

Chart: “InsideRadio”

Author: Mike Cherry

retired broadcaster: on-air, MD, PD, asst PD, Prod Mgr, IT, station technician/engineer, pioneer Internet webcaster, station installation/maintenance; 12 years in commercial radio, 17 years volunteer in campus/community radio in B.C., Alberta & Wash. Amateur radio operator & "DXer" specializing in AM night-time DX, short-wave DX/listening & remote SDR DXing/listening

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