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FCC Releases Year-End Station Totals

AM shrinks again while translators flourish

The Federal Communications Commission has released its year-end station totals for 2021.

As of Dec. 31, 2021, the number of licenses were as follows,

Station type

Dec. ’21Dec. ’20

+/−

AM stations

4,509

4,551

−42

FM commercial

6,676

6,699

−23

FM educational

4,204

4,195

+9

FM translators and boosters

8,866

8,420

+446

LPFM

2,069

2,136

−67

In the past 12 months the number of AM stations fell about 1 percent, continuing a contraction over time in the category, which peaked at around 5,000 in the 1990s.

FM translators and boosters continued their rapid expansion. Ten years ago, their number was 6,099; it has grown 45 percent since then, helped in part by the FCC’s AM revitalization initiative, HD Radio multicast rebroadcasts and other spectrum strategies.

The category of FM educational will grow soon, given that the commission recently opened a window for new noncommercial educational FM construction permits and received almost 1,300 applications.

The full station count, including TV station classes, is on the FCC website.

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