The Numbers Report

Posted on January 29th, 2015 by

During the first several days of each calendar year, the FCC unceremoniously publishes a one-page news release on the total numbers of broadcast stations licensed as of the end of the prior year. This year’s news release happened on January 7, 2015. We took a little time to compare it to last year’s report, just to see what station categories had changes. We also found an FCC webpage that contains a link to an excel spreadsheet tracking station totals all the way back to 1969 (and beyond).

Not surprisingly, the most significant change in 2014 occurred with AM stations, with a loss of 22 AM stations. As of the end of the year, 4705 AM stations were licensed by the FCC. The highest number of AM stations ever licensed was 4990, which occurred in 1991. So in the last 23 years, 285 AM stations have ceased operation.

Forty more commercial FM stations were added to the rolls in 2014, and non-commercial FM stations jumped by 56. Another 195 FM translators were licensed in 2014. TV station totals remained static, though another eight (8) Class A UHF stations were licensed. Finally, another 166 LPFM stations were licensed in 2014, bringing that total to 942.