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.

It is imperative that every licensee of a silent station notify the Commission in writing when broadcast operations resume.  Written communications regarding silent stations should be mailed to:

AM Stations, FM Stations, FM Translators, and Low Power FM Stations
Ms. Victoria McCauley, Room 4.327
Audio Division, Media Bureau
Federal Communications Commission
45 L Street NE
Washington, DC 20554

(202) 418-2136

The following Silent Stations lists are generally updated twice each month.  Each list only includes stations that have been silent for more than 2 months.

Silent AM Station List
Silent FM Station List

List users should be aware that silent stations may not be available for sale.  The FCC does not maintain any list of 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 application filing window period, and at that time file an application for a new AM station, including all technical showings to demonstrate the lack of interference to other AM stations.  When an FM station is deleted or cancelled, the allotment (or placeholder) remains, but no application can be filed until the next auction/application filing window.  In both services, new station facilities are auctioned, as mandated by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Notifications and Requests for Special Temporary Authority (STA).  Stations that go silent should notify Ms. McCauley by letter or e-mail within 10 days of ceasing operation.  The letter or e-mail should include a brief explanation of the reason for ceasing operation and a projected date (if possible) for the station's return to licensed operation.  Short periods of discontinued operation (less than 10 days) need not be reported.  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 73.1635 and Emergency Antennas, Silent Stations, Special Temporary Authority (STA) for Broadcast Services).  Station licensees must submit the Silent Station STA request in the LMS application filing system (see the LMS Help Center),and clearly explain in an attachment the circumstances surrounding the request.  This filing for silent station authority is exempt from application filing fees.  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.


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.


Friday, August 19, 2022