More Stations Moving to UHF Channels

The FCC released a listing of Broadcast Station Totals as of December 31, 2010. As expected, the number of full-power VHF TV stations continues to decline. As of June 30, 2010 there were 1,021 commercial UHF TV station licenses and 372 commercial VHF TV stations. As of December 31, 2010, these numbers changed to 1,022 and 368. The total number of full power TV stations dropped by three, as there was only one new UHF license. The number of educational TV stations (VHF and UHF) was unchanged during the last six months.

The change from the period before the DTV transition is dramatic. As of Dec. 31, 2008, there were 582 VHF commercial TV stations and only 786 UHF commercial TV stations. Commercial and educational TV stations totaled 1,759 then, as compared to the 1,781 on Dec. 31, 2010.

At the end of 2010, there were 9,021 full-power, low-power, Class A, and TV translators licensed. This compares with 9,064 a year ago, when there were 195 more UHF and VHF low power TV stations licenses.

The numbers indicate that while low-power TV licenses have decreased, possibly due to a reduced number of channels available with the reallocation of channels 52-69, interest in full-power TV and TV transmitters remains strong as shown by the number of licenses.

It will be interesting to see what the numbers look in a year or two if the incentive auctions proposed by the FCC are approved and conducted. To view broadcast license totals for other dates, see Broadcast Station Totals (Index) 1990 to Present.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.