At one time, Class D stations were available nationwide. They were used mainly by high schools and colleges to operate very low power FM radio stations. This was decades prior to our current LPFM service. Class D was eventually grandfathered and only those stations that were still around could renew their licenses and make changes. However, there is one place where Class D was never grandparented, Alaska.
The FCC is granting applications for original construction permits in Alaska for stations specifying Class D operation. There is no filing window. This is an ongoing rule. In 2015, the FCC granted 11 new Class D FM stations.
Class D stations are covered in Part 73, Subpart D. They are not considered LPFM and therefore not subject to the Local Community Radio Act. Class D is entirely a noncommercial educational (NCE) service. There is no commercial version of Class D. Like with LPFM stations, Class D stations are licensed to non-profit corporations and not individuals. An educational statement will be required with the application.
All 100 channels (88.1 to 107.9) are available to new Class D stations in Alaska. There are no ownership caps like there is with LPFM. Some Class D stations are operated by the licensees of higher powered NCE stations in the state in order to provide a satellite station in remote regions of Alaska. Stand-alone Class D stations do have a main studio requirement (the co-owned stations are able to get main studio rule waivers).
Class D stations may not exceed 99 watts or a service contour of 5.6 km (similar to LPFM).
Most of the rules that apply to full-power NCE stations also apply to Alaska Class-D stations.
Class D stations must protect other FM stations on co-channel, first-adjacent, second-adjacent and third adjacent channels. In many villages, it is most likely that there are no nearby stations within three channels of the proposed station. It may get more tricky if you are trying to start a station in or near Anchorage.
If you are in Alaska and you are interested in starting a new Class D station, please contact REC for assistance.
Recently granted Class D stations (Frequency/ERP/HAAT):
- Akiachak (92.7/50w/15m) Yupiit School District
- Anchorage (99.7/3w/-121m) Adventist Radio Alaska Corporation
- Crooked Creek (89.5/90w/-137) Kuskokwim Public Broadcasting Corporation
- Gambell (89.3/90w/9m) KSVQ Nome Seventh-Day Adventist Church
- Glacier View (91.5/85w/-224m/DA) KGVC Radio Free Palmer, Inc.
- Hydaburg (91.1/30w/-93m) KHYG-FM Hydaburg City School District
- McGrath (89.5/90w/-25m) KSKO-FM Kuskokwim Public Broadcasting Corporation
- Nikolai (89.5/90w/9m) Kuskokwim Public Broadcasting Corporation
- Scammon Bay (91.9/90w/1m) Kashunamiut School District
- Sleetmute (89.5/90w/-58m) Kuskokwim Public Broadcasting Corporation
- Tanana (99.1/7w/109m) KTYU Big River Public Broadcasting Corporation
- Togiak (91.9/90w/-26m) Dillingham City School District
- Tok (89.5/85w/-11.4m) Athabascan Fiddlers Association, Inc.
- Yakutat (91.9/25w/56m) KYKT Yakutat Tlingit Tribe
Currently, there are 38 Alaska Class D stations with licenses or granted construction permits.