FCC Announces Filing Opportunity for Low Power FM Stations

On Thursday June 22 the FCC announced it will be opening a "filing window" for applying for new Low Power FM (LPFM) licenses.  These are 100-watt non-commercial, educational FM broadcast stations on the FM broadcast band 88.1 FM -107.9 FM.  This marks the first time since 2013 the FCC has opened such opportunity.  These FM channels are set aside for schools, churches, non-profits, government, or other educational institutions.  Another broadcast service, "FM translators" also share these type of lower power radio channels.  In the last few years there have been four different filing opportunities for commercial AM entities to apply for these channels, depleting the availability of open channels available to LPFM.  Some pointers:

  • You must have a state-registered nonprofit, church, educational institution, or governmental entity to apply.  Individuals or for-profit organizations cannot apply for these channels.
  • There is a limited availability of radio channels available.  Major and medium urban central cities are unlikely to have channels open, but sometimes there are channels available on the sides of the cities, and other times it could be hit or miss.
  • All applications must be filed electronically (online) from the FCC's Licensing and Management System.  All applications can only be filed between November 1, 2023 to November 8, 2023 at 6pm EST.  Any application submitted even 1 minute after the window end will be rejected.
  • It is highly recommended finding a broadcast tech/engineer to assist in applying for a radio channel.  Some types of engineering defects in the application may lead to automatic dismissal without a chance to amend the application.

Common Frequency will be assisting any prospective applicants with information, preliminary frequency availability checks, engineering studies, and submitting applications.  Common Frequency should be releasing more information soon.  

For further information contact Todd at todd@commonfrequency.org

Link to FCC Public Notice DA 23-531