The FCC has released it’s first quarter statistics showing the total number of broadcast stations as of the end of March. Although the number of FM boosters & translators the past year has totaled 140, growth the last quarter of 2019 & this year’s first quarter has considerably slowed. The final 2019 quarter had 4 new translators on air, the first quarter of 2020 just 6. This in spite of allowances for AM stations to acquire FM translators in a number of filing windows. The first quarter of this year resulted in 13 less AM stations, with many more predicted to soon follow. This past quarter saw 46 fewer commercial FM stations on air, an even more alarming development than the reduction of AM stations. Non-commercial FM stations increased by 37 this first quarter, although the number of LPFM broadcasters dropped by 10. There’s been stagnation in the growth of LPFM’s due to the lack of any filing windows for news facilities. The feds have stated they plan to open a new LPFM filing window, but that’s not expected until next year at the earliest. The agency will first need to complete the auction of 130 FM signals in Auction 106. There’s also the July 2020 completion of the repack of television stations, and a July 2021 sunset of low-power television operations that first need to be completed. The Media Bureau reports the number of full power & low power TV stations has remained stable this first quarter.
FCC Station total chart: Inside Radio