How to Start a Low Power FM Radio Station

Email or call 423.903.3565 to get acquainted with us. We know LPFM and have provided engineering, FCC Application Filing, and many a successful LPFM entrepreneur has come to lean on us heavily. We don’t just get you started, we still work for the first station we started back in 1968. God willing, we will be with you for the duration, and our past proves it.

LPFM Radio Stations with 250 watts! Coming soon, but get on our mailing list and we’ll keep you posted.

Other resources:

LPFM Frequently Asked Questions

We Want to Apply for a LPFM Radio Station!

GREAT! And we’re here to help you do just that.

Qualifications Summary

  1. Eligible applicants: non-commercial government, private educational, non-profit entities w/ educational purposes. No existing broadcaster or other media entity can have any ownership interest, or programming or operating agreement with LPFM’s – except those owners that are limited to only ownership of 1 – 2 translator CP’s or licenses only. Tribal Nations may now own 2 LPFM stations.
  2. LPFM applications will be filed during a forthcoming filing window often announced 60 days in advance. Your application must be filed during that window to be eligible.
  3. An applicant must broadcast a minimum of 36 hours a week.
  4. Licensees will be limited to local entities (and board members) certifying they physically reside – within 10 miles of the city of license/transmitter site (for applicants within the top 50 markets), and within 20 miles of the city of license/transmitter site for all LPFM’s in markets 51+.

How to START, SETUP, or BEGIN a LPFM Radio Station

  1. Contact Sterling with as much information as possible. We need to know where you plan to locate your studio and the transmitter/antenna (if not at the studio location). We need to know the name of your corporation, your EIN, your board members with their positions on the board and addresses. What type of programming are you planning? Do you need us to help you understand what is necessary to meet the educational criteria?
  2. Call us and we will do a LPFM frequency search for you for free! If the LPFM frequency search results are positive, you can proceed with filing a LPFM application with the Commission. Sterling’s fee must be paid in advance of the application preparation. After reviewing the e-mailed results of our LPFM search we’ve completed for you, it is time to prepare the application. We are able to do this with client provided GPS coordinates of your transmitter site. We will file your application electronically during the FCC window filing period. This work will be guaranteed “acceptable for filing” by the FCC or your money back. This does not guarantee you will receive a Construction Permit, but it does guarantee all work will be completed accurately and filed timely. You will also receive your public file copy with instructions on the process after applications are filed. We will take care of each step of the application process so that you miss nothing.
  3. We are not a “fly-by-night” engineering company. During previous LPFM windows many engineering companies popped up on the internet (nearly overnight) and filed many poorly prepared LPFM applications. They then disappeared and left the applicants with no or little assistance afterwards. We helped many of those applicants salvage their applications and receive a license. We will be available for you during the entire FCC process. With most of our clients our relationship begins with the frequency search and continues as long as our client owns the station. We will help you anytime you need as you have questions, make changes, upgrade, expand, or require general ongoing FCC assistance, from beginning to years later license renewals.

Who is Sterling and Why Should We Hire You?

Check out our About Us page to find out more.

Where Do We Buy Equipment and Who Will Help Us Set it Up?

We do not deal in equipment – that would simply spread us to thin. We’re an engineering company, and need to keep our expertise within that realm.

But, we know the best equipment dealers and they know us, and know our clients are above average caliber, and they will talk with us to give you deals in exactly the equipment you need… but you don’t have to buy from any of them. There are always sources on the internet as well, just give us a call and be careful. There are a lot of folks that are happy to sell you anything, and often it is illegal and doesn’t meet FCC rules. Buyer beware! We’ll keep you safe. Contact us for many, many sources of other great equipment vendors. Give us a call and we’ll recommend some reliable third parties our clients have used and been pleased with in the past.

For an example of an existing, successful LPFM client station of ours, view WBFC-LP Photos.

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • …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
  • 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
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