In the following sections, we provide some basic information about Low Power (LPFM) radio stations (licensed service) and the related application processes.

Contents

  Introduction
   LPFM Filing Window Periods
   Find LPFM Records via the FM Query
   LPFM Channel Finder
   LPFM Notes
   LPFM Service Rules
   Related Information
   LPFM Documents (includes recent items)
   LPFM License Process Frequently Asked Questions (separate page)

Introduction

The Low Power FM (LPFM) radio service was created by the Commission in January 2000.  LPFM stations are authorized for noncommercial educational broadcasting only (no commercial operation) and operate with an effective radiated power (ERP) of 100 watts (0.1 kilowatts) or less, with maximum facilities of 100 watts ERP at 30 meters (100 feet) antenna height above average terrain (HAAT).  The approximate service range of a 100 watt LPFM station is 5.6 kilometers (3.5 miles radius).  LPFM stations are not protected from interference that may be received from other classes of FM stations.  A construction permit is required before an LPFM station can be constructed or operated.  The mere filing of an LPFM application does not authorize any construction or operation.

LPFM stations are available to noncommercial educational entities and public safety and transportation organizations, but are not available to individuals or for commercial operations.  Current broadcast licensees with interests in other media (broadcast or newspapers) are not eligible to obtain LPFM stations. 

Potential applicants are advised that there is almost always competition for any type of radio broadcast station -- including LPFM stations -- and there is no guarantee that filing an acceptable application will result in the grant of a construction permit.  Applications for LPFM stations may only be filed during specified filing "window" periods announced by the FCC, and must be filed electronically on FCC Form 318 (no paper applications will be accepted).  Many applicants retain legal and engineering counsel to help them prepare an acceptable application.  (The FCC does not maintain a list of legal and engineering firms, and cannot recommend any individual or firm.)

LPFM stations must protect authorized radio broadcast stations on the same channel or frequency (cochannel), as well as broadcast stations on first or second-adjacent channels above or below the LPFM station's frequency.  This protection is accomplished through the use of minimum distance separation requirements, which are set forth in 47 CFR 73.807.

LPFM Filing Window Period Dates

No LPFM application filing window period is presently scheduled. 

When a new filing window period is scheduled, it will be announced via Public Notice and posted on the FCC's web site, in several locations, including this web page, at least 30 days before the start of the filing period.  We regret that we are not able to provide personal or advance notice to interested parties.  All applications must be electronically filed.  [The last filing period as in October 2013.]

Find LPFM Records via the FM Query

You may retrieve information on LPFM stations and applications using the following form.  This form will retrieve information from the FM Query in the form of a list.  Selecting a call sign or facility ID number from the list will retrieve more detailed information pertaining to that record, and related information may then be retrieved from the Media Bureau's CDBS system. 
 

LPFM Reports

Choose the options you want in your report, then submit.

      State:

      Records to Be Retrieved:  

      List Type:        
 

     
 

LPFM Channel Finder

The LPFM Channel Finder may be used to conduct a preliminary search to help potential applicants find channels that may support LPFM use in a given area.  Applicants are cautioned that the Commission's FM database changes daily and these changes may impact the viability of a channel's use for LPFM broadcasting.  Moreover, the LPFM Channel Finder does not identify whether interference might be received from existing stations operating at greater distances than required by Section 73.807 of the Commission's rules.  We recommend that applicants thoroughly evaluate a potential channel before filing any application.

LPFM Notes

  • Number of Applications Per Applicant.  In general, LPFM applicants may only apply for a single station.  However, on reconsideration, the Commission clarified that government public safety and transportation organizations may apply for multiple LPFM stations for disseminating traffic, safety, and other information where the additional applications are not subject to competing applications.  Similarly, where there are no conflicting applications, LPFM applications will be accepted for university student-run LPFM stations from universities holding LPFM licenses that are not student-run.  Separate college campuses within a university system, or individual high schools under a single school board, could each individually apply for LPFM construction permits.  ITFS (Instructional Television Fixed Service) stations run by universities and colleges that only transmit educational programming are not considered a "broadcast service" under the FCC ownership rules.
     
  • Zoning, Land Use, Local Building Codes.  Applicants should, prior to submitting an application to the FCC, consider how property ownership, local zoning, building permits, or other land use restrictions might affect whether and how quickly an LPFM station can be constructed upon FCC grant of a construction permit.  However, zoning, land use, or building permit information or approval is not needed to file FCC Form 318 with the Commission for an LPFM construction permit.  On the other hand, environmental considerations might need to be adderssed in the context of the FCC Form 318 application.  See 47 CFR 73.1.1307.
     
  • Conflicting LPFM Applications.  Where one LPFM application does not meet the spacing requirements in 47 CFR 73.807 to another LPFM application, those applications are "mutually exclusive" in that both applications cannot be granted if interference is to be avoided.  Mutually exclusive applications can occur with all the applications clustered together, or can take the form of a chain in which the end applications are linked through intermediate proposals. 

    These mutually exclusive situations will be resolved through the application of a point system.  Points are awarded for (1) the organization's presence in the community for at least two years, (2) a commitment to broadcast at least twelve hours per day, and (3) a commitment to provide at least eight hours of locally originated programming each day.  The applicant with the most points will be awarded the construction permit. 

    If there is a tie after the points are tallied, the competing applicants will be encouraged to share a license.  Those competing applicants resubmitting their applications together will be permitted to aggregate their points.  For example, three applicants tied with three points each would be given a total of nine points upon resubmission.  This aggregated group of applicants with nine points would be awarded the construction permit over a single applicant with three points.

    If the tied applicants cannot agree to share a license, the FCC will divide equally an eight year non-renewable license term among the applicants.  For example, if there are four tied applicants, each will receive a two year, non-renewable license term.  The first license term will be awarded to the first to complete construction of its facilities pursuant to its construction permit.

    If there are more than eight tied applicants, the FCC will divide the eight year term among those applicants receiving a point for established community presence.  If there are more than eight applicants, the FCC will award one year, non-renewable license terms to the eight entities with the longest community presence. 

    For details on the point system, please see the Report and Order in MM Docket 99-25. 

LPFM Rules

Rule sections pertaining to LPFM stations are listed in Title 47, Part 73 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).  Most LPFM rules are contained in Subpart G of Part 73 (Section 73.800 series), but there are references to rule sections in other parts and subparts.

Related Information

  • LPFM Broadcast Station Checklist (PDF file) can be used by LPFM licensees and permittees to verify compliance with the FCC's rules.  This checklist was created by the FCC's Enforcement Bureau and is periodically updated.
  • Beware of Low Power FM Radio Scams!  Be cautious of offers for equipment or services that promise to get you an LPFM station or to sell you a Part 15 unlicensed device or transmitter as a means to starting a licensed LPFM service.  We do not recommend the purchase of any equipment until you receive an LPFM construction permit from the FCC.

LPFM Documents

We have collected the primary documents pertaining to LPFM radio broadcast stations in this section.

 

  • March 19, 2012
    Creation of a Low Power Radio Service, Fifth Report and Order, Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Fourth Order on Reconsideration, MM Docket 99-25, FCC 12-28, released March 19, 2012. [ PDF | Word ]. Modified rules to implement certain provisions of the Local Community Radio Act of 2010, et al.  News Release released March 19, 2012, [ PDF | Word ].
     
  • October 25, 2006
    Thin Air Community Radio, Letter, DA 06-2106, released October 25, 2006.  [ PDF | Word ].  Granted the minor modification for KYRS-LP, Spokane, WA.
  • August 24, 2005
    Creation of a Low Power Radio Service, Order, MM Docket 99-25, DA 05-2348, released August 24, 2005.  [ PDF | Word ].  Reply comment date for the Second Order on Reconsideration and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was extended to September 21, 2005. 
  • August 3, 2005
    Creation of a Low Power Radio Service, Order, MB Docket 99-25, DA 05-2253, released August 3, 2005.  [ PDF | Word ].  Comment dates extended to August 22, 2005; reply comment dates extended to September 6, 2005. 
  • March 17, 2005
    Creation of a Low Power FM Radio Service, Second Order on Reconsideration and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, MM Docket 99-25, FCC 05-75, released March 17, 2005.  Document: [ PDF | Word ].  Copps: [ PDF | Word ].    Adelstein: [ PDF | Word ]. FCC to Consider Options for Expanding, Strengthening LPFM Service, News Release, March 17, 2005: [ PDF | Word ]. 
  • August 24, 2005
    Creation of a Low Power Radio Service, Order, MM Docket 99-25, DA 05-2348, released August 24, 2005.  [ PDF | Word ].  Reply comment date for the Second Order on Reconsideration and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is extended to September 21, 2005. 
  • August 3, 2005
    Creation of a Low Power Radio Service, Order, MB Docket 99-25, DA 05-2253, released August 3, 2005.  [ PDF | Word ].  Comment dates were extended to August 22, 2005; reply comment dates were extended to September 6, 2005. 
  • July 5, 2005
    Federal Register Publishes Summary of LPFM Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in MM Docket 99-25.  Federal Register links: [ 70 FR 39182 | 70 FR 39217 ]
    Comments were due by August 8, 2005, reply comments were due by August 22, 2005.  Filing comments electronically through ECFS or ECFS Express is strongly encouraged.
  • May 27, 2005
    Commission Issues 18 LPFM Points Decisions -- MO&O orders were released May 27, 2005. 
    • Pineros Y Campinesos Unidos del Noroeste, FCC 05-97.  Time Share.  [ PDF | Word ].
    • Miracle International Christian Life Center, FCC 05-98, [ PDF | Word ].
    • The Villages Chanber of Commerce, Inc., FCC 05-99, [ PDF | Word ].
    • Citylight Ministry Center, FCC 05-100.  Time Share.  [ PDF | Word ].
    • New Life Worship Center, FCC 05-101, [ PDF | Word ].
    • St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, FCC 05-102, [ PDF | Word ].
    • Menomonie Christian Radio, FCC 05-103, [ PDF | Word ].
    • School District of La Crosse, FCC 05-104, [ PDF | Word ].
    • Greater Johnstown High School, FCC 05-105, [ PDF | Word ].
    • Greenfield Community Television, Inc., FCC 05-106.*nbsp; Equal, successive license terms. [ PDF | Word ].
    • Calvary Chapel of Brandon, Inc., FCC 05-107. Time Share.  [ PDF | Word ].
    • Calvary Chapel of Gainesville, Inc., FCC 05-108.  Time Share.  [ PDF | Word ].
    • Everglades Community Association, FCC 05-109. Equal, successive license terms. [ PDF | Word ].
    • Drake University, FCC 05-110.  Time Share.  [ PDF | Word ].
    • Templo Elim, FCC 05-111, [ PDF | Word ].
    • Black Business Alliance, Inc., FCC 05-113. [ PDF | Word ].
    • Billings Seventh-Day Adventist Church, FCC 05-114, [ PDF | Word ].
    • GSRI Property Owners Association, FCC 05-115.  Time Share.  [ PDF | Word ].
  • March 17, 2005
    Creation of a Low Power FM Radio Service, Second Order on Reconsideration and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, MM Docket 99-25, FCC 05-75, released March 17, 2005.  Document: [ PDF | Word ].  Copps: [ PDF | Word ].    Adelstein: [ PDF | Word ].  FCC to Consider Options for Expanding, Strengthening LPFM Service, News Release, March 17, 2005: [ PDF | Word ]. 
  • October 16, 2002
    Notice of Acceptance of Low Power FM Broadcast Applications and Notification of Petition to Deny Deadline, Report No. LPFM-S-6, released October 16, 2002.  [ PDF | Word | Text ].  Petitions to deny the listed applications must be filed no later than November 15, 2002.  List consists of applications mainly from Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Washington.  If an application from NE, NM, NC, PA, or WA did not appear on this list, the application either (1) conflicts with another timely filed application, or (2) has some serious defect.
  • February 8, 2002
    Greg Ruggerio v. FCC, Case No. 00-1100 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 8, 2002).  Provision in LPFM rules implementing statutory provision disqualifying from eligibility any party who ever engaged in unlicensed broadcasting is declared unconstitutional.
  • January 27, 2000
    Report and Order in MM Docket 99-25, FCC 00-19, released January 27, 2000.  [ PDF | Word | Text ].  This document contains an explanation of the LPFM application process and related considerations. Related items (MS Word 97 documents):

Additional Information



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, and Video Division, (202) 418-1600.



 

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Updated: 
Tuesday, April 19, 2016