Translator Answers for “Fill-In” Translators, Boosters, and AM Stations

  • FM translators may be used for cross-band translation. AM primary stations may now be rebroadcast on the FM band via translator.
  • A qualifying translator, suitable for rebroadcasting an AM primary must have been granted a CP or license prior to May 1, 2009.
  • AM station owners can own multiple translators, but not with greatly overlapping contours on the FM band.
  • AM stations are not required to own the translator within their primary contour that rebroadcasts their signal.
  • No translator or booster may transmit anything other than the live programming of its licensed parent station, except for emergency warnings (EAS for example), and 30 seconds per hour of fundraising.
  • The parent station must announce the call sign of all rebroadcasting translators and boosters between 7 and 9 am, between 12:55 and 1:05 pm, and between 4 and 6 pm each broadcast day; or the translator must make this broadcast itself via specialized equipment.
  • Maximum power is 250 watts ERP for a translator, and 20% of the maximum allowable ERP for the primary station’s class for a booster. There is no limit on ARC for fill-in translators (those that exist within the primary service contour of the primary station).
  • A translator or booster must go off the air if the parent station’s signal is lost,  EXCEPT for those translators rebroadcasting AM stations.
  • Commercial stations with a “Fill-In” Translator (different frequency than the primary) within their primary service contour may own the translator, but are not required to own it, and a 3rd party may continue to own the same. A Booster (same frequency as the primary) within the primary service contour must own the translator.
  • Reminder – 3rd party owners (no ownership involvement with the primary owner), must own all translators outside of a primary station’s service contour.
  • The commercial band (92.1 – 107.9 MHz) requires “over the air” feed of translators, ie – picking up the signal of the primary with a FM antenna, and then rebroadcasting that signal.
  • The non-commercial band (88.1 – 91.9 MHz) translator can receive their feed via any means, including the internet, phone line, satellite, STL and Barix units, etc.
  • Boosters licenses are automatically renewed with that of the primary station renewal.
  • Boosters are given the full callsign of the primary station, plus the designation “-FM1”, “-FM2”, “-FM3”, etc.
  • 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
  • …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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
MarkTranslator Answers for “Fill-In” Translators, Boosters, and AM Stations