While you are free to determine your station’s non-commercial entertainment format, the FCC does have some rules that impact your broadcast programming and station operation.
LPFM stations are required to operate at least 36 hours per week consisting of at least 5 hours a day on at least 6 days per week. Stations licensed to educational institutions are not required to broadcast on weekends or have to operate during vacation periods.
Did you know?
LPFM stations that are authorized for unlimited (24/7) operation and have been licensed for at least 3 years but are not operating at least 12 hours a day on a regular basis are subject to another organization filing to request the station’s unused time and subjecting the existing station to time-sharing. Such an application can be filed anytime (e.g. outside of a window) and will not acted upon until the license renewal period after June 1, 2019. See §73.850(c).
Station identification is made at the beginning and end of each period of operation and hourly as close to the hour as feasible, at a natural break in program offerings. The identification shall consist of the station’s call letters including the “LP” and immediately followed by the community of license as shown on the license. The only things that can be inserted between the call letters and community are the name of licensee and/or station frequency.
"WREC-LP, Riverton" - legal
"WREC-LP, community radio for Riverton" - not legal
"WREC-LP, 102.1, Riverton" - legal
"WREC Riverton 102.1 LPFM" - not legal
"WREC-LP, Riverton, Sharptown, Mardela Springs" - legal
"WREC-LP, Sharptown, Riverton, Mardela Springs" - not legal if the city on the license is Riverton.
The "LP" only needs to be used at the top-of-the-hour for the legal ID. For example, if you want to use just "WREC" for the rest of your on-air imaging, that's OK as long as "WREC-LP, Riverton" is spoken at the top of the hour.
LPFM is a non-commercial educational service. An LPFM station may be licensed only to non-profit or non-commercial entities.
Did you know?
With the exception of tobacco products, non-commercial stations can broadcast the original classic commercials aired in old time radio programs.
An LPFM station may not retransmit, either terrestrially or via satellite, the signal of a full-power radio broadcast station.
Did you know?
A full-power station can rebroadcast the program of an LPFM station.
LPFM stations are permitted to rebroadcast other LPFM stations however LPFM stations should be careful as they are prohibited from entering into an operating agreement including a time brokerage or management arrangement with either a full power or another LPFM station.
Before recording a telephone conversation for broadcast or broadcasting such a conversation simultaneous with its occurrence, the licensee shall inform any party to the call of the licensee’s intention to broadcast the conversation, except where the party is aware, or maybe presumed to be aware from the circumstances of the conversation, that it is being or likely will be broadcast.
- Does this station operate with sufficient hours to comply with the minimum operating schedule for LPFM stations?
- Is the station identification being made in accordance with the rules?
- Is the station maintaining its non-commercial status?
- Is 100% of the programming on the station from sources other than a full-power radio broadcast station?
- Does the station notify telephone callers of their intent to broadcast the conversation BEFORE recording or airing the call?
- §73.503 – Licensing requirements and service (Non-commercial educational)
- §73.850 – Operating schedule
- §73.853 – Licensing requirements and service (Low Power FM)
- §73.879 – Signal retransmission
- §73.1201 – Station identification
- §73.1206 – Broadcast of telephone conversations
- 47 USC §399b – Offering of certain services, facilities or products by public broadcast station
- Commission Policy on the Noncommercial Nature of Educational Broadcasting
- FCC 1989 letter to KAWC clarifying policy about airing old time radio commercials on NCE stations.
Related REC Knowledge Base Questions and Answers
- Can two LPFM stations share the same programming?
- Can one LPFM station simulcast another LPFM station?
- We are a school and we are closing for summer vacation. The rules state I need to broadcast 36 hours a week. How can we do that if we are not there?
- FAQs related to Non-commercial nature of LPFM
Next up is Technical Operations.
Information in this document is current as of September 29, 2016.
Information provided by REC Networks is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. For legal advice, please obtain the services of a qualified attorney that specializes in FCC law, especially where it comes to LPFM.