How to Start a Radio Station

James Price

Sterling’s James Price on-site at a radio station tower location.

You can expand your local business, church, or ministry, into every car and home in your community by beginning your own radio station. Contact us today so that we can review the FCC time schedule and their “Filing Window” system for receiving new applications.

From locating an available broadcast frequency on the radio dial, to your first day of operation, we have an outstanding record in helping individuals, businesses, and organizations build radio stations. The questions and answers below will help you find out more information on how to get started. If you want to receive more information, call, write, e-mail or fax a request today because we’re ready to help.

Starting a Radio or TV Station FAQ

  1. Should I start a commercial or a non-commercial radio station?  What is the difference?
    FM radio offers a unique opportunity for businesses & ministries today. Most people new to radio are confused by the differences between non-commercial and commercial radio. (read more)
  2. What are some of the most popular questions asked by new clients?
    You may have questions like many of our clients. Many of these are addressed in this Q&A. We recommend you review this information, as it will bring you up to speed quickly on how to approach your project of starting a new station. (read more)
  3. I’ve heard something about Low Power FM. What is it?
    Low Power FM radio is a very popular way to start a station. (read more)
  4. I want to start a non-commercial station. What steps are involved and how long will it take?
    The first step is to determine exactly what frequencies are available in your area for a non-commercial station. Many clients like to have a Project Schedule, but keep in mind this schedule has a varying timeline. (read more)
  5. I want to start a commercial station. What steps are involved and how long will it take?
    There are steps to getting a commercial station. Many clients like to have a Project Schedule, but keep in mind this schedule has a varying timeline. (read more)
  6. What does Sterling Communications need from new clients to file an application with the FCC for a new station?
    To file an application with the FCC we need certain detailed information. Completing this checklist and returning it to our offices via email works fine, and will provide us with all of the information we need about you the applicant. (read more)
  • 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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