Commercial FM Project Schedule

Please call for detailed information, as project scheduling changes do occur when working with the FCC.

I. In order to determine exactly what frequencies are available in your area we must run a Frequency Search. This search will analyze the commercial FM frequencies, and tell us which ones are available for your use, and at what power of transmission. The search will be valid over a 30 mile radius from the point of origin you give us (city you wish to broadcast from). This will cover 2,827 square miles, and take approximately four weeks to prepare.

We analyzed the Frequency Search and send you a complete report with summary and maps. This will determine the best frequency for your purpose.

II.  Once we have analyzed the Frequency Search, we will determine the best frequency for your purpose. When applying for a commercial frequency, you must petition the FCC to have the new frequency assigned to your area. This is done by filing a “Petition For Rulemaking.” This will request the FCC to change their Table of Assignments to include the new frequency at your location. This will take about two weeks for us to do the work.

III.  After you file a Petition For Rulemaking, the FCC can take several months to respond by issuing a public notice, known as the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. At the time of Notice the FCC will set aside a period for Comments to be filed. This comment period will begin 30 days after Notice, and close 30 days later. Then, there will be 15 days set aside for Replies to Comments. Comments and Replies to Comments are periods of time that anyone supporting or opposing the prospective assignment of a new frequency to your location can make their interest known.


IV.  After Comments and Replies are concluded, the FCC will take approximately six to nine months to issue a Report and Order, which is a public notice declaring their decision to agree with your Petition and add the new frequency to the Table of Assignments, or to decline your petition altogether.


V.  If the FCC agrees with your petition, then they will assign a thirty day period of time in which you, or any other party may file a FCC Form stating your interest in participating in FCC Auctions to bid for the station using the newly assigned frequency.

ACCUMULATED TIME: Seventy-Two Weeks.

VI.  The new frequency has been found and authorized. The Commercial frequency must now be auctioned off to the highest bidder. To do this, you must file a FCC Form 301 necessary to properly inform the Commission about your plans of location, and operation. The time it takes to complete these forms is determined by how long it will take you to provide us with the information we will request from you. You must have all information we request returned to Sterling at least two weeks before the filing dead-line for us to guarantee the forms will be filed timely.


Once the FCC has opened the auction window with an unknown timeline based on public auction interest, if you are the highest bidder… you win. We have had many clients go through this and become winners, but it can be expensive. Understand you don’t pay anything in the auctions if you lose, but you can pay quite an exorbitant amount to win the Construction Permit.

ACCUMULATED TIME: Ninety-two weeks.

The Auction Process could take between twelve and eighteen months to complete, and can cost in the millions. The variable on which expenses will be calculated during the auctions would be the market size, market ratings, advertising rates and broadcast transactions determined by the FCC. Prior to every auction the FCC will release various public notices concerning the auction with procedures to be followed in the auction, this will also include FEE requirements for auction involvement. And, a lot of competitors use another city in the same auction, perhaps yours, to keep their bidding units active, and you have to continue to pay for that as it artificially pushes up your cost, while keeping theirs lower, because they use such tactics.

  • …a note of thanks for the wonderful and professional work you have provided for the many stations we have had over the years. It seems like we are always changing or moving something with the stations. As the years pass, we have found that we can trust your services and can call, at almost any time, with questions that we need your help to answer. Thanks again for your years of service for us here at Alabama Christian Radio, Inc.

    Pat Jarrell ACR
  • I will tell you that I have used many engineers before Sterling. None were as caring, effective and knowledgeable as James and his father have been. Jim Price (the father) was one of the most knowledgeable and innovative persons / engineers that I have known in my rather long career, and James has those same qualities. The Sterling staff is and always has been extremely willing to help. In addition, as a last comment, which is one of the most important items in any business, Sterling's pricing is always acceptable and very competitive.

    Charles Beard CSSI Non-Profit Educational Broadcasting Corp.
  • With over 50 years of broadcasting behind us here at VCY America Radio and TV, the importance of quality consulting and engineering remains the foundation for our more than 35 facilities across the network. James Price and the wonderful team at Sterling Communications have never disappointed us and their outstanding work is testimony before the broadcast industry and the FCC of the quality of their work. Sterling Communications knows how to get it done and done right.

    Dr. Vic Eliason, V.P. VCY America Radio Network
  • We have, through the application process for a LPFM Radio Station, found James Price and his staff to be professional in every way. They were always, even through our “ignorant questions”, “affable, available and affordable”. At every decision junction, they released wisdom filled with judgement based on their experience and engineering knowledge. All through our application process they shared with us the appropriate direction to take based on what we needed, not what was perhaps best for them. Our application was successful due to their labor and we continue to look to them for all the necessary next steps. With Sterling Communications you receive professional care and sensitivity to the needs of you the client.

    Jim Hughes MD FRCS, The Church in Jackson
  • In 2004, we knew God was leading our ministry to purchase a 100kW FM non-commercial station, but we didn’t know much at all about FCC regulations, radio equipment, engineering studies or coverage maps. James Price and crew at Sterling Communications patiently answered ALL our questions and gave us information about questions we didn’t know enough to ask! Their engineering expertise enabled us to receive 3 construction permits during a non-commercial FM filing window, move antennas to more strategic locations and make well-informed decisions as opportunities arose to purchase other stations. They walked us through growing our network from that first station to 7 stations and 9 translators throughout Nebraska, all with faith, good humor and an awareness of our need to stretch each dollar!

    Carolyn Simmons Mission Nebraska
MarkCommercial FM Project Schedule