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Number of licensed radio stations drop, TV remains unchanged

Commercial radio stations hit hardest, while educational and public radio stations grew in volume.

Commercial radio stations hit hardest, while educational and public radio stations grew in volume.

(Photo: Pixabay, Graphic: The Desk)

More than 100 commercial AM and FM radio stations went off the air over the last 12 months, according to the latest broadcast station total released by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday.

The data showed 82 full-power FM commercial stations and 36 AM stations did not renew their broadcast license between March 2022 and last month.

At the same time, a total of 100 educational and public radio station signed on through the FM band during the year, the FCC report said.

The agency does not provide a reason why the broadcast licenses were not renewed during the year. In some cases, the FCC canceled licenses after the owners of broadcast stations failed to renew them in time.

On the television side, two full-power, commercial stations were added during the year, with a growth in licensed UHF stations fully offsetting a dip in licensed VHF stations.

The total number of full-power television stations stands at 1,758, up by just one compared to last year, while the number of full-power radio stations is 15,372, down by 18 during the same time period.

TypeQ1 2023Q1 2022Change (YoY)
AM Stations4,4724,508-36
FM Commercial6,6816,763-82
FM Educational4,2194,119100
UHF TV Commercial1,01099911
VHF TV Commercial365374-9
UHF TV Educational2642631
VHF TV Educational119121-2
Class A UHF TV Stations351352-1
Class A VHF TV Stations3031-1
FM Translators8,9398,91920
UHF TV Translators2,4612,462-1
VHF TV Translators658769-111
UHF TV Low Power1,5601,51644
VHF TV Low Power3273243
FM Low Power1,9992,049-50
Radio Total (Full Power)15,37215,390-18
TV Total (Full Power)1,7581,7571
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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).