A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Low Power FM Radio Station in 2023

LPFM Radio 2023 Filing Window!

The opening of the Low Power FM (LPFM) radio filing window in 2023 has provided a unique opportunity for individuals, organizations, and community groups to establish their own local broadcasting stations. LPFM stations offer a platform for community voices to be heard and play a vital role in promoting local culture, engaging citizens, and bridging the digital divide. If you’re considering starting an LPFM radio station, this step-by-step guide will help you navigate the process and bring your community’s voice to the airwaves.

Step 1: Research and Planning

Begin by conducting thorough research on LPFM radio stations and understanding the requirements, regulations, and technical aspects involved. Familiarize yourself with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) rules and guidelines governing LPFM stations. Identify the needs and interests of your community and determine how your station can address them effectively. This research and planning phase will provide a solid foundation for your station’s success.

Step 2: Identify Eligibility and Obtain a Non-Profit Status

To qualify for an LPFM radio license, you must meet certain eligibility criteria. LPFM stations are typically non-commercial and non-profit entities, so consider forming a non-profit organization or partnering with an existing non-profit organization that shares your mission and objectives. Obtain the necessary legal status and documentation to establish your station’s non-profit status, such as filing for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Step 3: Gather Resources and Build a Team

Building an LPFM station requires a dedicated team of individuals who are passionate about community radio. Seek volunteers, professionals, and experts in areas such as broadcasting, programming, marketing, and technical operations. Engage community members, local artists, and organizations to collaborate on programming, content creation, and community outreach efforts. Identify the resources, equipment, and funding required to set up and sustain your station.

Step 4: Select the Right Frequency and Location

Frequency selection is a critical step in establishing an LPFM station. Use the FCC’s online tools to identify available frequencies in your area that won’t interfere with existing stations. Consider factors such as coverage area, signal strength, and potential interference. Once you’ve identified a suitable frequency, determine the optimal location for your station’s antenna, studio, and transmission equipment. Secure the necessary permissions and permits for installation and ensure compliance with local zoning regulations.

Step 5: Prepare and Submit the FCC Application

Prepare a comprehensive application for your LPFM station, detailing your mission, programming plans, community impact, and technical specifications. The FCC provides detailed instructions and forms for LPFM license applications, including Form 318 and Form 319. Pay close attention to the application deadline and ensure all required information is accurately provided. Submit your application electronically or via mail within the designated filing window.

Step 6: Engage in Public Outreach and Support

As part of the FCC application process, demonstrate community support for your LPFM station. Engage in public outreach efforts, such as hosting informational meetings, partnering with local organizations, and building relationships with community leaders. Encourage community members to provide letters of support for your station, highlighting the positive impact it will have on local communication and cultural representation.

Step 7: Await FCC Review and Approval

After the filing window closes, the FCC will review all applications and select successful candidates based on established criteria. The review process may take several months, during which the FCC may request additional information or clarification. Stay informed and responsive to any inquiries from the FCC. Once your application is approved, you will receive your LPFM license, allowing you to proceed with station setup and operation.


Starting an LPFM radio station in 2023 requires careful planning, research, and adherence to FCC regulations. By following this step-by-step guide, you can navigate the process successfully and bring your community’s voice to the airwaves. Remember to stay committed to your mission, engage with the community, and embrace the power of local broadcasting. The 2023 LPFM radio filing window presents a significant opportunity to make a lasting impact on your community through the power of radio. Good luck on your journey to establish a vibrant and influential LPFM station!

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