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FCC Releases New TV/FM Station Numbers

The FCC recently released its tally of broadcast stations licensed for operation as of March 31, 2014, and when I compared these totals with those from a year ago. I was surprised to see the number of commercial UHF TV licensed increased slightly--from 1,027 last year to 1,030 this year. The number of low-power commercial U’s jumped by 94.

The number of VHF commercial TV licenses remained unchanged at 358. UHF educational TV licenses dropped by one, to 288. The number of VHF TV licenses, commercial and educational, remained the same at 358 and 107, respectively. The total number of VHF and UHF TV licenses was 1,783.

The figures for UHF low-power (LPTV) operations stations rose from 1,564 to 1,658, which is something of a surprise as these stations will not be protected in the post auction repacking. The number of VHF LPTV licenses decreased, from 403 to 377.

Class A TV stations, unlike LPTVs and translators, are not secondary and can participate in the Incentive Auction, with those not participating in the auction being protected.

Class A stations are required to meet many of the same requirements as full power TV stations and the FCC has been citing Class A operations that fail to meet these requirements. According to the new numbers, Class A UHF TV licenses fell from 395 to 379 in the past year. The number of Class A VHF TV stations also dropped, from 59 to 50.

FM translators and boosters increased by 29, to 6,082; however, the number of UHF TV translators dropped by 23 to 2,901. There was a huge drop in the number of VHF TV translators, from 1,153 last year down to 1,055 this year.

Low-power FM is a relatively new service, but the number of licenses dropped by 28 during the past year to 774.

To review broadcast station totals from December 1968 to now, see FCC Broadcast Station Totals releases from FCC EDOCS.

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.