Repack Pushes Commercial UHF Count Below 1,000


The FCC on Wednesday (10/3) released its Broadcast Station Totals for the third quarter of 2018. The biggest headline from the new totals: The total number of commercially licensed UHF stations has dipped below 1,000. At the same time, there are fewer AM radio stations and far more FM translators and boosters.

On the TV side, the number of commercially licensed UHF facilities was 990, down 25 from Q2 2018, when the number had risen by two from the end of 2017 to 1,015.

Meanwhile, the number of commercial VHF stations slipped by three stations, to 359. This compares to 362 at the end of Q2, 350 at the end of the first quarter of 2017, and 357 at the end of the second quarter of 2017.

Meanwhile, the number of UHF noncomm stations surged to 297 from 271. There are two more VHF noncomms, at 115.

Looking at Class A facilities, UHF stations remain at 361; Class A VHF stations stay at 28 in number.

On the radio side, there are now 6,737 commercially licensed FMs in the U.S. That’s down one from Q2 2018 and compares to a year-end 2016 total of 6,746.

Meanwhile, there are two additional FM noncomms in the U.S. compared to Q2 ’18, with the total at 4,130. That’s up from 4,101 at the end of 2016.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway is the continued growth in FM translators and boosters. As of September 30 some 7,848 FM translators and boosters were licensed nationwide. That’s up from 7,721 in Q2; 7,253 FM translators and boosters at the end of Q4 2016; and 6,962 translators and boosters at the end of Q3 2016.

The number of AMs declined to 4,626 from 4,633, and this compares to 4,646 on June 30, 2017. The AM station count has declined in all quarters since the end of 2016.


(Comparisons are as of June 3, 2018): 33,133

AM STATIONS                  4626 (minus 7)
FM COMMERCIAL             6737 (minus 1)
FM EDUCATIONAL            4130 (plus 2)
TOTAL                          15,493 (minus 6)

UHF COMMERCIAL TV      990 (minus 25)
VHF COMMERCIAL TV       362 (plus 3)
UHF EDUCATIONAL TV      271 (minus 5)
VHF EDUCATIONAL TV      113 (minus 1)
TOTAL                            1,761 (minus 6)

CLASS A UHF STATIONS   361 (down 3)

FM TRANSLATORS & BOOSTERS 7848 (from 7721)
UHF TRANSLATORS               2752 (from 2811)
VHF TRANSLATORS               970 (from 870)
TOTAL                                 11,514 (from 11,402)

UHF LOW POWER TV             1486 (from 1528)
VHF LOW POWER TV             425 (from 383)
TOTAL                                  1,911 (same) 

LOW POWER FM             2,175 (up 4)