The boom in FM translators continues


Their license category has increased by 5% in one year and 43% in the last decade

The number of translators and FM boosters in the United States continues to increase.

The latest quarterly raw figures for the different types of broadcast licenses have been released by the Federal Communications Commission. There are now 8,771 translators and boosters, 5% more than just a year ago and 43% more than 10 years ago.

[Related: “NAB Lays Out Precarious Financial Position of Radio”]

Translators rebroadcast an FM or AM station signal on a different FM frequency. The boosters operate on the same FM frequency as the main station. The commission does not report the two individually, but the continued growth is certainly almost entirely due to translators, not boosters, as various FCC policies during this period have tended to promote the increased use of this type of signal.

The list below is as of September 30, 2021 and compares the number of stations to the same time last year.

AM stations – 4,519 (down 41 stations from a year ago)
FM Commercial – 6,682 (down from 22)
FM Educational – 4,211 (up from 15)
Total – 15,412 (down from 48)

FM translators and boosters – 8,771 (up from 432 compared to a year ago)
Low-power FM stations – 2,081 (down from 62)


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