The FCC licenses and regulates U.S. television broadcast stations.  Stations are either full power or low power stations.  Low power television stations, which include Class A and television translators, provide locally-oriented television service in small communities.  These stations operate on a secondary basis to full power stations.

Television stations are licensed as either commercial or noncommercial educational.  Noncommercial stations may not broadcast commercials or other promotional announcements on behalf of for-profit entities.  FCC rules generally do not govern the selection of programming that is broadcast.  The main exceptions are restrictions on indecent programming, limits on the number of commercials aired during children's programming, and rules involving candidates for public office.