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The Telecommunications Act of 1996 provided for the expiration of broadcast licenses as a matter of law upon a station's failure to operate for 12 consecutive months.  The Commission still has discretion to terminate licenses under existing revocation and cancellation policies in situations in which the automatic expiration provisions do not apply.

A list of currently silent stations may be generated by visiting the LMS search page, selecting the "Facility Search", and inputting the desired station type(s), e.g. "FM Translator" or "Full Power FM" or "Low Power FM") and status "Licensed and Silent". 

List users should be aware that silent stations may not be available for sale, and that the FCC does not maintain any information about stations that may be available for purchase.

Deleted or Cancelled Stations. When a station loses its license, that license is not immediately available to other interested parties.  In the case of AM stations, the potential applicant must await the next auction/application filing window period.  When a commercial FM station is deleted or cancelled, the allotment (or placeholder) remains, but no application for a new station construction permit can be filed until the next auction/application filing window.  In both services, commercial new station facilities are auctioned, as mandated by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

For FM noncommercial educational stations, and low power FM stations, there is no allotment record remaining after a station license cancellation, but any potential applicant cannot file a new station construction permit application until the next application filing window period opens for such stations.  New FM noncommercial educational permittees, as well as new station LPFM permittees, are selected using a point system when competing applications are filed.

Notifications and requests for Special Temporary Authority.   Stations that go silent mist file a notice of suspension of operations request in the LMS application filing system (see the LMS Help Center), within 10 days of ceasing operation.  The filing should include an attachment  with a brief explanation of the reason for ceasing operation and include a projected date for the station's return to licensed operation (if possible).  Short periods of discontinued operation (less than 10 days) need not be reported but should be entered in the station's log (see 47 CFR Section 73.1820).  Tower obstruction lighting must be maintained without interruption during all periods of silence to protect general aviation.

If the station's silent period is expected to last beyond 30 days, Special Temporary Authority is necessary (see 47 CFR Section 73.1635 and Emergency Antennas, Silent Stations, Special Temporary Authority (STA) for Broadcast Services).  Stations must submit the Silent Station STA request in the LMS application filing system (see the LMS Help Center) and clearly explain in an attachment to the application the circumstances surrounding the request.  After review, the staff may grant Special Temporary Authority for a period not exceeding 180 days, but extensions may be approved upon the submission of a new STA extension request.

It is imperative that every licensee of a silent station notify the Commission through the LMS application system when broadcast operations resume. 

Other written communications regarding silent stations (AM, FM, FM translators, and Low Power FM (LPFM) stations) should be mailed to:

   Ms. Victoria McCauley, Room 4.327
   Audio Division, Media Bureau
   Federal Communications Commission
   45 L Street NE
   Washington, DC 20554

   (202) 418-2136    victoria.mccauley@fcc.gov



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.

Thursday, September 28, 2023