Religious FM Ownership Soars As Commercial AM/FM Wanes


Commercial AM and FM station ownership continued its downward trajectory in the final months of 2023, echoing the financial difficulties faced by operators over the year. The new data comes from the Federal Communications Commission’s broadcast station total report.

Despite the push to recognize AM radio and maintain its place in the dash, the number of AM stations decreased by 8, bringing the total to 4,444. There was also a slight seven-station decrease for commercial FMs, resulting in a total of 6,663 stations.

Contrary to the commercial trend, FM educational stations saw an increase of 23, totaling 4,286 stations. This growth signifies a strengthening interest or investment from religious broadcasters, who made significant moves and purchases throughout 2023. This brought radio as an industry to a net increase of eight stations, totaling 15,393.

The total number of FM translators and boosters experienced a minor decrease, down by only one from the previous quarter, totaling 8,927. It’s noteworthy that this number is significantly up from 7,813, recorded as of June 30, 2018, as many stations use digital signals to get around ownership cap rules left unchanged by the FCC’s 2018 Quadrennial Review.

Finally, low power FM stations saw a decrease of 11, bringing the total to 1,967. That number is likely to jump by the next report, as the FCC is processing new LPFM applications for the first time in a decade after opening the filing window in December.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here