Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Radio

The FCC administers and maintains licenses for AM, FM, LPFM, FM translator and FM booster radio stations.  FM radio licenses are available for operators of full power commercial stations, as well as full and low power, noncommercial education stations.  A license is required to operate a radio station, and can be obtained by filing an application with the FCC. The commission must approve a proposed radio license assignment prior to the sale of the station. The FCC provides public notice of the filing of all new station, assignment and license renewal applications.  This public notice starts a 30-day period for the public to file comments or objections to these applications.

FM is short for frequency modulation, which refers to the means of encoding the audio signal on the carrier frequency. FM full power, low power, translator and booster stations operate in the 88 – 108 MHz band. There are many classes of radio stations. The smallest provide service to areas within three or four miles of a transmitter site; the largest provide service to locations more than 60 miles from a transmitter site. Only noncommercial educational radio stations are licensed in the 88-92 MHz “reserved” band. Both commercial and noncommercial educational stations may operate in the “non-reserved” 92-108 MHz band.

AM is short for amplitude modulation, which refers to the means of encoding the audio signal on the carrier frequency.  In many countries, AM radio stations are known as "mediumwave" stations. They are also sometimes referred to as "standard broadcast stations" because AM was the first form used to transmit broadcast radio signals to the public.  Over one half of all  Many AM stations are either daytime-only stations or stations authorized to operate at very low power levels at night as a result of “sky wave” propagation, which occurs when the AM signal is reflected off the ionosphere and back to the earth.  

close
FCC

You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.