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March FCC Data Shows Fewer Commercial FMs, More NCEs

Totals for AM stations and FM translators continue their opposing trend lines

There are 82 fewer commercial FM radio stations in the United States than a year ago, but there are 100 more educational FMs.

That’s according to the latest licensed station totals from the Federal Communications Commission.

The number of AM stations dropped by 36 since this time last year, while the number of low-power FM stations fell by 50. But FM translators and boosters continue to proliferate, adding 20 signals.

The commission releases updated totals every three months. As of March 31, 2023, it announced the following totals for the radio classes:

AM 4,472

FM commercial 6,681

FM educational 4,219

FM translators/boosters 8,939

LPFM 1,999

Compared to 10 years ago, the number of AMs is down about 5%, according to Radio World’s calculations of the FCC data, while the number of educational FMs is up about 8%. Commercial FMs are up 1% over that decade while LPFMs are up almost 150% and translators/boosters grew about 48%.