This week the FCC released its quarterly list of the total number of licensed broadcast stations in the United States.
Based on FCC statistics through December 31, 2013, the number of licensed broadcast radio stations is still on the rise (in keeping with a 20-year trend), with 162 more radio stations at the end of 2013 (15,358) than at the end of 2012 (15,196).
This grand total has been on the increase since I began monitoring these statistics in late, 2011 (there were 14,865 radio stations total at the end of September, 2011).
The only categories in which there was a decrease in the total number of radio stations were AM stations (11 fewer that at the end of December, 2012), FM translators/boosters (21 fewer than at the end of December, 2012) and Low Power FM (33 fewer than at the end of December, 2012).
FM educational radio stations (college radio, high school radio, public radio, community radio, and religious broadcasters) increased the most, with 159 more stations at the end of December, 2013 than at the end of December, 2012. In that same one-year period, the number of commercial FM radio stations increased by 14.
As of December 31, 2013:
AM Stations: 4727 (down from 4,738 in 12/12 )
FM Commercial Stations: 6612 (up from 6,598 in 12/12)
FM Educational Stations: 4019 (up from 3,860 in 12/12)
Total Radio Stations: 15,358 (up from 15,196 in 12/12)
Not included in Total Radio Stations:
FM Translators and Boosters: 6054 (down from 6,075 in 12/12)
Low power FM: 776 (down from 809 in 12/12)
It’s impressive to see that radio is growing every year, particularly non-commercial radio, but the gradual decline in AM stations also points to the challenges than AM broadcasters face. If you want to dig into more quarterly statistics, take a look at all of our station count reports here.
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