Community LPFM Radio

Start a low power FM Community Radio Station

Applying for an LPFM License

This website contains general information about applying for a low power FM (LPFM) radio station.

What is low power FM radio?

Low power FM radio, or LPFM, is a FM radio service recently created by the Federal Communications Commission. The LPFM service consists of two types of radio stations: 100 watt stations which reach an area with a radius of approximately three and one-half miles; and 10 watt stations which generally reach an area with a radius of between one and two miles. By contrast, existing full power FM radio stations generally operate at between 6,000 and 100,000 watts. The FCC will accept applications for LPFM licenses first for 100 watt stations, followed by the licensing of 10 watt stations.

Who is eligible for LPFM licenses?

As the new LPFM service is a noncommercial, educational radio service, LPFM licenses are not available to individuals or commercial entities. Eligible applicants must fall into one of the following categories:
  • government or non-profit educational institutions -- such as public or private schools, or private or state universities;
  • non-profit organizations, associations or entities with educational purposes -- such as community groups, public service or public health organizations, or faith-based organizations; and
  • government or non-profit entities providing local public safety or  transportation services -- such as volunteer fire departments, local government entities, or state transportation authorities. 
In addition, applicants for LPFM licenses must be based in the community in which they intend to broadcast. An organization is considered community-based if:
  •  it is physically headquartered or has a campus within 10 miles of  the proposed transmitting antenna; or
  • seventy-five percent of its board resides within 10 miles of the proposed transmitting antenna; or
  • it is a non-profit or governmental public safety organization that intends to broadcast within the area of its jurisdiction.
How does my organization apply?

Applications should be available from the FCC by in, 2011. To request an application when they become contact Nexus Broadcast 903-588-2199

When can my organization apply?

The FCC will announce the dates during which it will be accepting the first applications for 100 watt LPFM licenses. The FCC will open a five-day filing window, permitting applicants to apply for 100 watt LPFM licenses. The FCC will give at least 30 days notice when announcing each of these windows. Any applications filed before or after the five-day window will be returned to the applicant, a policy that will be strictly enforced.

Are there additional eligibility requirements or disqualifying factors?

Because the LPFM service is designed to create opportunities for new voices to be heard on the radio, existing broadcasters, cable television system operators, or daily newspaper publishers are not eligible for LPFM licenses. This includes all principals or officers of the applicant organization.

    For example, a non-profit organization whose president is a local television station owner is not eligible for a LPFM license while the station owner is president of the organization.
If a non-officer member of the board of directors of the applicant organization holds an interest in any radio or television station, cable television system or general circulation daily newspaper (not including college newspapers), he or she may not participate in the management or operation of the LPFM station.

   For example, if a University already holds a radio station license, its president may serve on the board of directors of a student-run LPFM station, but may not participate in its management or operation.

Organizations that previously broadcast without a license in violation of the law are not eligible for an LPFM license unless they ceased operation when notified of their violation, or terminated operation prior to February 26, 1999. Likewise, organizations whose principals or officers previously broadcast without a license in violation of the law are not eligible unless they ceased operation when notified of their violation, or terminated operation prior to February 26, 1999.

    For example, a community organization otherwise eligible for a LPFM license is deemed ineligible if its president or any officer broadcast in violation of the law as  recently as March, 1999, whether or not the FCC ordered him or her to cease illegal operation.

In addition, neither the applicant organization nor any of its principals or officers may have or have had an interest in, or connection with, any broadcast application where character issues were resolved adversely or left unresolved.

Additionally, neither the applicant organization nor any of its principals or officers may have had any adverse finding made against him or her in a civil or criminal proceeding related to: a felony; mass media related antitrust or unfair competition action; fraudulent statements to another governmental unit; or discrimination.

Will there be enough LPFM stations for all organizations that want them? 

In certain cities, such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, there may not be room on the radio spectrum for any new LPFM stations. In most other cities, there are likely to be locations where 100 and 10 watt stations could operate without causing interference to other FM stations, and thus licenses would be available. However, there may not be enough LPFM station opportunities for all interested entities in many communities.

How will competing applications be resolved?
In some cases there will be conflicting LPFM applications in a particular area, making it is impossible to grant more than one license without creating interference. This does not necessarily refer to applications for licenses for exactly the same channel in exactly the same area. For example, an application for a license to broadcast on 97.3 might conflict with an application for a license to broadcast on 97.5, or an application for a license to broadcast within a city’s limits might conflict with an application for a license to broadcast in the close-in suburbs of that city. 

“Competing” applications will be resolved through a process that awards one point to each applicant for: (1) the organization’s presence in the community for at least two years; (2) a commitment to broadcast at least 12 hours each day; and (3) a commitment to broadcast at least eight hours of locally originated programming each day. The applicant with the most points will receive the license. 

If there is a tie after the points are tallied, the competing applicants will be encouraged to share a license. Those competing applicants resubmitting their applications together will be permitted to aggregate their points. For example, three applicants tied with three points each would be given a total of nine points upon resubmission. This aggregated group of applicants would be awarded the license over a single applicant with three points.

What happens if the tied applicants cannot agree to share a license?

The FCC will divide equally an eight-year non-renewable license term among the tied applicants. Thus, if there are four tied applicants, each will receive a two-year, non-renewable license term. The first license term will be awarded to the first to complete construction of its facilities. 
If there are more than eight tied applicants, the FCC will divide the eight-year term among those applicants receiving a point for established community presence. If there are more than eight such applicants, the FCC will award one-year, non-renewable license terms to the eight entities with the longest community presence.

What will it cost to construct an LPFM station?

Costs can vary widely. The size of the station, the type and quality of studio and broadcasting equipment, as well as whether a tower may be required, are all factors in determining cost. Make sure the equipment you use is approved or “type certified” by the FCC. The manufacturer is responsible for compliance with the FCC rules concerning certification. More information on the availability and costs of radio equipment is available through Nexus Broadcast at 903-588-2199 or

How can I find out if there will be any LPFM stations in my community?

Nexus Broadcast uses an advanced computer software program to identify FM frequencies that may be available for LPFM stations in particular locations. Potential applicants can also consult with Nexus broadcast engineers to determine the availability of radio spectrum in their areas.

Let's Build that LPFM

If you are considering setting up a  LPFM radio station in The United States, it is essential to know what the available options are for you to get on the air.

We can provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision. Including details on the various types of radio stations that can be established in The U.S

The consulting experience from Nexus can alone help save thousands of dollars on equipment and licensing when setting up a  new radio station.  Additionally, we will speed up the process to getting you on the air by telling you in plain English exactly what steps that need to be taken.  We make filing an FCC LPFM application easy!

We help you with starting a FM radio station from start to finish!  We want to be on your team!

Nexus offers complete service to help you start up a licensed FM or AM radio station in the United States, or anywhere else in the world for that matter. We can take care of the entire project - from licensing with the FCC to determining the best studio and antenna location, supplying all the equipment for the station, setting up the radio automation software, installing the studio equipment,  to providing training on how to use all the equipment.    

We have over 15 years experience setting up hundreds of low power FM, commercial AM & FM radio stations even part 15 and internet broadcasters, in addition to consulting on hundreds of other installations around the world.

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Click to join LPFM