The Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

The Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

The LPFM Buyer's Guide

LPFM definitely is broadcast service, but it does have its own special challenges. One of the main challenges is budgetary, so an LPFM station needs to be careful and efficient with its budget. The manufacturers, vendors, and service providers on these pages are attuned to the special needs of LPFM stations.

What are the areas where we can help you?

Articles of special interest to LPFM operators


According to FCC numbers, there are now approximately 1550 licensed LPFM statons. One report says three states have more than 100 LPFMs now: TX, FL, and CA. A Pew Research paper is located here.


According to FCC numbers, there are now approximately 1338 licensed LPFM statons, about 44% coming from the current round of CPs.


High School LPFM Station Trains Radio's Next Generation
A High School program that works gets some help from the industry


The LPFM-AG (LPFM Advocacy Group) has filed a 226-page Petition for Rulemaking with the FCC to make changes to the LPFM Rules to "Prevent the extinction" of the low power stations. The Petition seeks to give LPFMs some protections, increase power to 250 W, and pave the way toward commercialism.


The FCC now reports a total of 1,149 LPFM stations on the air. The increase over 2014 is 335 stations.


Several groups have begin petitioning the FCC for higher power - and mor protection - for LPFM stations.  One group seeks 250 Watts, another would go to 1 kW.


The FCC's latest numbers show more than 1000 LPFMs on the air. (As of March 1029 stations had received their Aurhorizations.) Some questtions remain about protection to LFPMs from full power and translator stations - and the ultimate need for LPFM's to have the right to run commercial material, not just underwriting.


Nautel has an LPFM Web presentation scheduled for April 1st at 12 Noon EDT. Sign up here


The LPFM push is not without a hiccup or two. Now that many CPs have gone out, operators and volunteers need to observe FCC regulations as well as smart business operating policies. Sometimes though, power struggles and in-fighting can destroy the best of intentions, and as in Charleston WV, kill a budding LPFM operation. It took only six weeks from going on the air to deletion.  (Thanks Phil Shoenthal)


The process continues.  The FCC identified 96 MX groups where they have a tentative selction for the LPFM CPs, and set the deadlines for filings and petitions to deny


The FCC Media Bureau Chief Peter Doyle said at the NAB Fall Show that over 1300 LPFM CPs have been issued, and 79 more are in the current process. According to Doyle, once those MX situations are cleared this LPFM Window will be essentially completed.


The FCC has now approved a total of 1,281 LPFM Construction Permits.


After assigning points to the applications in 79 groups of mutually exclusive applications, the FCC has identified tentative selections for each group. In many cases, this means a shared-time arrangement. This starts a 30-day period for arguments to dismiss applications or 90 days to make major modifications to remove the conflicts.


A discussion at the FCC's open meeting on June 12th indicated that while 1220 CPs have been issued to the 2826 applicants thus far, things are slowing as they deal with the 1267 MX'd applications in 406 groups. That said, the Media Bureau says they will issue a Public Notice "soon" with their tentative selections for the remaining CPs, along with a 90 day window for applicants to try to sharetime or initiate a major change application to use another frequency, etc. FCC Chairman Wheeler praised "the largest expansion of community radio in history."


The FCC has now issued nearly 1200 CPs for new LPFM stations in the current Window. Some reports are that most of the "easy" CPs have been issued, and as the FCC works through the MX applications, the process may well slow down.


The NAB show had a number of products specially designed for LPFM use. Some are shown on these pages, and a few from the NAB Review. There was also warning from the FCC that LPFMs need to remember the terms of their authorization, and comply with requirements.


As we get ready for NAB, a number of companies are showing new products that are designed for LPFM - some with smaller studios in mind, some with reduced features - to help save some budget money. New items for NAB are here.


Another large group of applications with suspicious information has been uncovered. According to Kyle Magrill, some three dozen applications appear to be filled out with non-existent names, addresses that do not exist, notaries that do not exist or stopped being notaries years ago, and other issues. Magrill, who researched the background of the suspect applications, says the FCC is now aware of the matter. Some of them, where CPs have been issued already, may well be rescinded immediately and returned to "pending" status, with an investigation to follow.


As the FCC continues to churn out LPFM CPs, a letter to some 14 applicants who filed what appear to be "singleton" applications involving Antonio Cesar Guel. The letter requests a lot of information to prove the applications were not misrepresenting matters and not violating rules. This could have larger ramifications, since Guel was involved in hundreds of applications, all looking very similar to some, including REC Networks, Michi Bradley.


Over 1000 LPFM CPs have now been issued over the past month or so. This may be the largest bunch of CPs the FCC has ever put together in so short a time. Over the next month, however, it will slow, depending on how the FCC handles the MX'd applications. 


CPs for LPFM have passed the 500 mark in January - and 200 this week alone - not yet the 900 promised, but a truly rapid rollout in FCC terms. The grants are in the FCC Daily Broadcast Actions, but it is in the middle of a mind-numbing number of pages. It is easier to search for your area. See 11/20/13 below and filter accordingly.


Building a New Station - A Checklist - Phil Owens
Some advice on how to make good choices when building a station.


Training for a Successful Station -  Does your staff really know what to do?


Section 11.35 - An LPFM in Greenville, TX was granted a $2k reduction and a Forfeiture Order for $5k after having been cited for not having an operating EAS machine in 2012. The Iglesia Cristiana Ebenezer's KYLP-LP did order and install an EAS, but the violation stands, as does the warning that a reduction this time does not mean a future reduction will be permitted.


The power of complaints against LPFM stations was shown this week. A new LFPM station got to use his CP for 14 hours, before a complaint shut him down. Previously a Part 15 operation, the station in Edgar, NE was told it was interfering with another station. Efforts to return to the CP authorized power is ongoing.


Several sources have noted the FCC LPFM grants contain errors of up to 50m in HAAT calculations, often leaving stations with very low power - as low as 4 Watts. The FCC is reportedly aware of this issue and is looking at making corrections as soon as possible.


Counting the Cost of Construction -  Stan Adams
Careful planning can bring in construction costs at a very reasonable level.


The LPFM Guide to Wire and Cable - Steve Lampen
This is a good look at which wires and cable are needed to build a professional LPFM station - or a Full Power station.


The FCC lived up to its promise: the CPs for LPFM have started flowing - as have the notices of dismissal. They can been seen in the Daily Actions, or, for the current status of an application, you can search quickly on the CDBS. Enter Low Power FM under "Service" and your city and state below. All the local applications will come up, with their current standing, whether accepted for filing, received, granted, or dismissed will show up. (If you know your file number or facility ID number, it will come up more easily.) The FCC usually does not show reasons for their actions.


With the "singletons" having been noted, quite a few of you are expecting a CP in the near future. If you have not planned your equipment purchases - and even if you have - it is wise to check with some of these companies to make sure you (a) get good value, (b) get gear that will meet FCC requirements, and (c) not fall apart under use..


The list of MX applications for the LPFM Window was realeased today. The Public Notice is here. For the next 60 days some negotiation and/or slight amendments to applications can be made before the FCC makes any decisions.


Public Notice was issued today on the LPFM applications, noting about 900 are "singletons." The FCC expects to issue the first CPs in January, 2014. A list of mutually exclusive applications should be released before the end of this month.


Would you like to "see" the LPFM applications in your area? Cavell, Mertz, has produced a Google Earth plug-in that plots the LPFM applications by frequency. Download it here.  Then start Google Earth. Gary Cavell says "the left hand menu bar should show "LPFMs by Channel" - (probably under an FCCInfo heading) - then expand that button and click on the channel / frequency of interest. You can zoom and pan in Google Earth as usual to see where these things are. Click on an applicant's balloon, and you can get more details - click on the Facility Id link, and you can drill down and see more."  Don't know what frequencies are sought in your area? Just follow the CDBS link in the next item and add the state and/or city of interest. You will get a list of all the LPFMs in your area.


The LPFM Window is closed, with 2819 applications successfully filed, according to Austin Airwaves. This number was confirmed at an AFCCE reception by both Jim Bradshaw & Peter Doyle, but could be adjusted a bit as things settle. If you would like to see them, go to the CDBS applications screen, then
under Service "FM Low Power" and
use the dates "10/13/2013" to "11/17/2013"
If you desire, filter by state and/or city.
It will return right about 2820 applications. Approximately two dozen are duplicates/triplicates; 1/3 are "singletons" and a list of them may be released by the FCC as early as next week.


Did you see the CDBS crash coming? The load of LPFM applications yesterday caused so much crashing of servers that the FCC extended the LPFM deadline yet again, to this afternoon.


 A web seminar scheduled by the FCC for October 3rd was held on the 24th.Here are some important links:


The FCC has released another Public Notice - to help applicants understand the issues surrounding translator input signal levels on the third adjacent frequency.


The filing Window for LPFM applications has been extended until November 14th. The FCC issued a Public Notice today.


The FCC has responded to some of the petitions for reconsideration of parts of the Sixth Report and Order for the LPFM proceeding.

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