The FM Translator Channel Finder search tool provides potential applicants with a simple means to tentatively identify FM broadcast channels available for use by FM translators in their communities.  The search tool determines channels that are available that would satisfy the Commission’s translator interference protection rule (47 CFR Section 74.1204).  Users should keep in mind that this search does not account for all factors that may affect broadcasting in the FM band, particularly terrain effects or actual interference to or from nearby FM stations operating on the same or adjacent channels.  The FM Translator Channel Finder does not take into account factors outside the FCC's jurisdiction that may affect site suitability and availability, including local zoning or building codes, environmental considerations, and site or power access.  Applicants should consider all relevant factors before selecting channels and sites.

Tool Options. The tool enables anyone to determine which channels may be available at any location within the United States.  Please note that the tool has been designed primarily for those AM stations that are considering participation in the 2016 and 2017 FM translator filing windows.

The tool allows users to determine availability at sites by specifying either a set of coordinates, a street address, or by clicking directly on the map.  The tool also allows the user to display the 2 mV/m contour of any authorized AM station.  This is intended to facilitate selection of rule-compliant location(s) for an FM translator.  From the site specified by a user, the tool determines if a 10-watt non-directional FM translator operating at 10 meters above ground level would satisfy the protection requirements found in Section 74.1204 of the rules to all co-channel, first-adjacent, second-adjacent and third-adjacent channels.  Channels identified as Available satisfy all of these requirements and are tentatively available for use.  Channels identified as Available with Waiver satisfy all co-channel and first-adjacent channel requirements but have predicted overlap on a 2nd-adjacent and/or 3rd-adjacent channel.  In many instances, applicants may be able to use the channel if they submit a proper showing of lack of interference per the requirements of 47 CFR Section 74.1204(d).  Applicants utilizing any channel determined to be Available with Waiver are strongly encouraged to enlist the help of a qualified broadcast engineer or consultant to verify these results.  Failure to include the required showing may result in dismissal of any application proposing such a channel.

The tool also reviews the location of the proposed site with respect to the Canadian and Mexican Borders, to identify sites that would potentially require coordination with the respective governments before approval.  Applicants in the border zone should be aware that international coordination may cause delay in application processing.

Results: In addition to identifying Available Channels, the tool also allows the user to view the contours of nearby stations that may prevent the use of certain channels or that may limit the viability of Available Channels.  By clicking on any channel on the Summary page, the protected contour of all FM stations authorized within +/- three (3) channels are displayed.  By mousing over the protected contours, information is displayed at the bottom of the map about the specific FM station, including channel, class, call sign and location.  Protected contours displayed in black have no relevant overlapping contours with a translator at the identified site.  Protected contours displayed in blue have overlap on 2nd-adjacent and/or 3rd-adjacent channels.  Protected contours displayed in gray have overlap on co-channels and/or 1st-adjacent channels.  The various interfering contours of the proposed translator are shown in red.  When mousing over existing station contours, the associated protected contour (gray, black or blue) and interfering contour of the translator (red) are highlighted in yellow.

Determining Latitude and Longitude Coordinates.  Please note that this tool uses the North American Datum 83 (NAD83) coordinates.  However, broadcast radio forms, including FCC Form 349 for FM translators, require the use of NAD27 coordinates.  In most situations, applicants will need to convert the coordinates obtained using the NADCON tool.  Most GPS units can determine coordinates in NAD83.  Applicants unable to identify accurate coordinates at a desired site location may wish to engage the services of a consulting communications engineer. 

The FM Translator Channel Finder search tool is intended solely to assist applicants in tentatively identifying available FM channels.  There is no guarantee that channels represented today as available will be technically acceptable at the time an application is filed.

Users must be aware that neither the FCC nor the United States Government shall be responsible or liable for any loss, expense, or damage arising from or incident to the use of this program or the underlying data.  This program cannot be used to file an application for an FM Translator station or to amend a pending application.  Use of the search tool does not confer any authority to operate a radio broadcast station. 

By Clicking Here:

  The user certifies that it has read the page above, and that it understands that the information provided by this tool does not guarantee that any Available channel will be approved by the Commission.


Visit the AM Revitalization page for more information on the use of FM translators by AM broadcast stations.  The FM Translators page also has helpful information about the FM translator service.

For more information on AM and FM radio broadcasting, please visit the Audio Division website, and the Broadcast Radio Links page.

FCC > Media Bureau > Audio Division, (202) 418-2700.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017