LPFM Stations

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be opening a filing window for new Low Power FM station applications, beginning on November 1 and closing on November 7, 2023. This will be the first LPFM filing window in ten years. While the Commission has not issued its requirements for filing in this window, we believe that the same limitations will apply to this window as were applied in the previous one. Namely, the stations must operate on a non-commercial basis and an entity can only apply for one such station and have no other broadcast interests. Once the FCC releases its filing requirements for this window, we will update our website with any new requirements.

LPFM stations are authorized to operate with an effective radiated power of 100 watts and a transmitting antenna height of 100 feet above the surrounding terrain. Stations are authorized based on the distance from the transmitter site to other stations operating on the same frequency as well as first-, second-, and third-adjacent frequencies to the one for which the LPFM station applies. LPFM stations can operate on any available frequency in the FM band (88.1 MHz to 107.9 MHz).

Smith and Fisher can help a potential applicant with the following initial engineering services:

  1. Identify available frequencies that cover the city/town of interest
  2. Identify the best frequency (from an incoming interference and coverage standpoint) if multiple ones are available
  3. Provide a map showing the area within which a transmitter site must be located for a given available frequency
  4. Identify possible FCC-registered towers within the allowable area

Once a frequency and transmitter site has been selected, Smith and Fisher can prepare the engineering portion of the FCC Application for Construction Permit for the LPFM station. This service would include the following technical portions of the engineering exhibit:

  1. An engineering statement defining the proposed site location and facility
  2. A map showing the potential coverage of the station along with the population and households (based on the 2020 U.S. Census database) covered within the station’s service contour.
  3. An exhibit showing that the proposed transmitter site meets the FCC’s separation requirements to all full-power FM, FM translator and other LPFM stations.
  4. In cases where a waiver of the FCC’s separation requirements to second-adjacent-frequency stations is needed, provide supporting documentation for the FCC to grant such a waiver request
  5. Providing a power density calculation to show that the proposed facility meets the Commission’s requirements for human exposure to non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation (required for all FCC broadcast filings).

* Available spectrum is limited especially in large markets. We can not guarantee that available spectrum will be found in your preferred market.

**It is highly recommended to retain an attorney specializing in FCC related matters. They will be required to open an application in the FCC LMS database and fill any relevant legal sections.

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