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FM Translators Continue to Proliferate

The FCC releases its latest station totals

The Federal Communications Commission has released the latest broadcast station totals for the United States.

Notably, the number of licensed FM translators and boosters continues to grow; that category added more than 300 just in the past year.

Though the commission doesn’t separate translators and boosters in this report, the growth is understood to be mostly in translators. A Radio World analysis of FCC data shows that the number of translators and boosters has grown 40% over 10 years. That growth is due in part to the use of translators in rebroadcasting HD Radio multicast channels as well as the use of translators in AM “revitalization.”

The number of licensed stations in each broadcast category as of June 30 is shown below. The data in parentheses are one year earlier, for comparison.

AM stations — 4,533 (4,570)

FM commercial — 6,681 (6,706)

FM educational — 4,214 (4,197)

Total — 15,428 (15,473)

FM translators & boosters — 8,614 (8,303)

LPFM — 2,093 (2,146)

[See how these categories have changed compared to 20 years ago.]